As one of major trends of the 21st century, Green consumerism has taken center stage in many businesses' way of operating. Green consumerism describes the concept of socially and environmentally responsible decision-making when it comes to consumption. This article will discuss what practices businesses can incorporate to take their responsibility in supporting this movement while ensuring to stay competitive on the market. Additionally, we’ll also highlight the role that digital payments play in sustainable commerce.
The status quo
It’s no secret that ecommerce has swept across the globe in a revolutionary fashion, changing the way many businesses and consumers go about their daily business. On one hand it has created greater convenience for consumers, while also generating new opportunities for retailers; yet on the other hand it has also presented us with its downsides. Concerns about the environment have led many consumers to think about the way they’re purchasing products and their everyday lifestyle. In accordance with this reflection and its results, these consumers are demanding brands and businesses act accordingly.
The Green consumers
The green consumer values and behaviors include the following factors:
- Purchasing and using products with lower environmental impacts
- Using eco-friendly and organic products that can be disposed through recycling, biodegradability, or compostability
- Using renewable energy sources
- Purchasing locally
Reasons to go green
Studies show that consumers – particularly millennials – increasingly opt for 'green products'. 70% of millennials state that a company's environmental focus influences their purchase decisions. This consumer generation is generally more loyal to brands involved in topics like sustainability and social quality – and they also have more spending power than any other generation.
The consequence for brands is pretty well summed up in Deloitte's Global Power of Retailing 2019 report: "Opportunity awaits retailers committed to driving change in more responsible practices, as consumers increasingly expect that brands should be accountable for sustainable manufacturing practices, transparency and reducing their overall carbon footprint."
Green practices to incorporate
This being said, what practices can retailers implement to take social responsibility and meet the expectations of their consumers?
1. Reduce packaging
Green consumerism advocates for modest packaging options. Studies have shown that especially younger generations think that Amazon uses excessive amounts of packaging. Using boxes sizes that don’t match their contents, doesn’t only waste space but also requires more packaging material.
Additionally, making invoices, receipts, and order sheets digital are ways to go paper-free while printing labels using thermal printers saves ink.
2. Implement sustainable shipping options
The demand for fast shipping in ecommerce has never been higher. Therefore, it can be worth investigating sustainable and eco-friendly shipping programs and carriers that offer paperless invoicing and other green options. By providing clear product descriptions and sizing information, you can cut down on returned merchandise, as this doubles the impact of shipping.
3. Create recycling policies
Consumers are becoming much more conscious about how much they throw away and what brands are doing to stop the cycle of wastage. Using reusable boxes made from biodegradable materials or recyclable materials and making recycling easier play an essential role in cutting waste and making consumption more sustainable.
The role of digital payments
The focus of consumers in sustainable consumerism is rightfully more on what they purchase but less on how they purchase it. Digital transactions are becoming a preferred option for consumers, with the benefit being to reduce the amount of physical payment methods.
Even though digital devices comprising digital payments come with their potential downsides regarding the environment, research assumes that it is reasonable to look tentatively at digital payment as a net positive development for sustainability efforts.
Summed up: Green Consumerism is the future of commerce
Undoubtedly, the practices mentioned above are just a few examples of initiatives businesses can take. As the landscape is one of constant changes, adapting is the key to staying relevant. Consumers and users alike do good in investigating what steps to take to offset their carbon footprint, such as what happens to products when they are no longer used. What are ways to reuse items as efficiently as possible?
By actively implementing environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, businesses have the chance to become more relevant to leading consumer generations while at the same time contributing to protecting our planet and its natural resources. What is often perceived as a financial burden on the first sight, can be a great opportunity for growth in the long run – and contribute to ecommerce and environmental sustainability being compatible.
With more than 20 years of experience in ecommerce and a variety of tools, features and digital payment solutions, we can help you to adapt to the demands of your customers.
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