5 environmentally minded eCommerce brands we can get ideas from

Having a sustainable business model for your online business is nothing new. But how are brands in the industry implementing it? Let’s see how they do it.

Eco friendly, environmentally, sustainable, recyclable. These are words that are taking over media, businesses, and our everyday lives. It’s not anything new and we are not going too scientific, but we are going to show you old and new faces in the eCommerce space that are working on creative and impacting ideas with manufacturing, logistics and the second life of their products.

The goal is to get you inspired on implementing similar ideas to your own brands and businesses in a rapidly growing marketplace from which you and the planet can benefit from.

Eco-minded entrepreneur in the eCommerce space

To stay competitive, brand owners must understand the needs of their audience.

“Greenwashing” is very common, causing users to have trust issues which makes them look into the tiniest details of our processes. As eco-minded entrepreneurs we should investigate how our products are shipped, what materials and energy is used and optimize each step whenever possible.

New ideas and innovations are coming out in an extremely fast pace, where sustainable products and services require new roles dedicated for research and releasing fully transparent reports regarding the environmental operations of a business. This is something that’s now a norm with big and getting more popular with small names in the industry.

Being sustainable has become mainstream in 2021 and there’s no going back, now is the time to adapt, learn, set goals to work for a better, cleaner future.

Some of the benefits of going sustainable

  • Better Image and competitive advantage – By working on your environmental impact, customers see you from a different perspective. You have a goal and a vision that’s impacting every single person in a positive way. This sets you in a better competitive position, because it shows that you are not interested in only taking but giving and caring.
  • Prepared for future regulations – We can already see laws regulating CO2 emissions and plastics. If you are already looking forward in being sustainable, you are bulletproof to any unexpected changes and getting into messy situation. Be prepared.
  • Decreased costs – Caring for the environment has its cost benefits as well. It’s all about cutting, using less, and removing whatever is unnecessary. That includes shipping, packaging, energy and of course there are government incentives to take advantage of wherever you are located.

5 sustainable brands that are changing the world with their ideas

So, what are the companies of today doing to reduce their footprint? We’ve selected 5 names from different industries, some of which are well known and been around for a long time and some new ones that have recently blown with their great product ideas.

1. Patagonia – Clothing Brand

Patagonia is not just a clothing brand, it’s a lifestyle. They are activists, environmentalists that are paving the way of how a sustainable business should be running in 2022.

Patagonia - Worn Wear Campaign - Clothing Brand Worn Wear Stories with David Sax – consistently wearing Patagonia for three decades

While they went fully paperless shipping in 2021 they are also known for:

  • Giving second life to their products: The masses are recognizing that fast fashion is a problem. Not only to our wallets, but to the endless waste. New fashion lines and the constant attack from ads are following us daily on every platform. While this is still happening, brands like Patagonia are vouching on maintaining and patching clothes by providing DIY videos for product care and accepting clothes for recycling in each of their store locations.
  • They are very close with their customers: Patagonia runs a blog dedicated solely to their loyal customers called “Worn Wear Stories”. They publish pieces of history of how people use and maintain their clothes from generation to generation. They wear their patched-up shirts with pride and style. It’s a piece with history that doesn’t belong on the landfill.
  • Transparent with their actions: They publish updates and goals directly on their website. Starting from their supply chain and supporting small time farmers, to recycling and energy use. Their current line uses 87% recycled cotton, and as of now they have a goal to be carbon neutral by 2025, which is right around the corner.
  • 1% for the Planet: This is a trend and pretty much anyone can participate, even the smallest bits help. Patagonia has been part of this movement since 1985 and until now they have donated more than $89 million. Small steps make a difference when they are repeated throughout the years.

Takeaway: Patagonia has been around since 1973, they’ve gone through a lot of research and innovations to get to this point. As more entrepreneurs start leaning more to run their business in a more sustainable way, big or small steps they just have to start from somewhere. If the intentions are right, showing the progress they’ve done, your audience will appreciate and support you. Always give your products a second chance.

2. Tentree – Clothing Brand

The brand that deleted all of their Instagram photos and posted only one. “Double tap to plant a tree” was their new start from which they gained over 15 million likes and planted more than 500 thousand trees. But that wasn’t just a onetime thing, they also have other goals and ideas that are still unfolding.

Sustainable clothing brand - planting trees Tentrees Instagram post that planted more than half a million trees

  • 1 Billion Trees by 2030: Tentree is planting 10 trees for each of their purchases. As of today they have planted 71 million with the help of their partners at “Eden Reforestation Projects” and few other NGO’s. They still have a way to go until they hit the goal of billion trees, but surely haven’t fallen behind.
  • No forced labor and ethical manufacturing: Each of their suppliers and manufacturers must comply with some rules, since Tentree is a progressive environmental brand they have a list which include no child labor, human trafficking and environmental protection. You can find the full code of conduct HERE.

Takeaway: Build a roadmap that will lead the way of your vision. Having annual key points or something to work harder for in the next 10 years is important. But showing a realistic plan publicly to your customers and going through each step, will only gain your more loyal and engaging following.

3. All birds – Shoe Brand

Founded by New Zealand natives, Allbirds is one of the most talked Shopify success stories. By designing a shoe made from wool and giving second chance to wasted materials.

Sustainable shoe brand - Shopify Allbirds packaging Shoebox to shopping bag packaging by Allbirds

  • Sustainability to the core: The main goal from the start of Allbirds, was to create a shoe, that’s made out of the best natural materials available to us. They are still following up on that goal, by reporting everything internally and externally in regard to their environmental footprint.
  • Recycled packaging – Taking packaging one step further, their box is not only used as a shoe box, but also 90% of it is post recycled and it can be surprisingly used as a shopping bag. *Not sure how often its used that way, but 10/10 points for creativity

Takeaway: Being transparent and completing your sustainable goals is important. But, people don’t change their daily behaviors with the snap of your fingers, we need to make them think about their actions to be more sustainable. That’s why just like the packaging of Allbirds, having fun and engaging ways to participate in the movement is important. While this may sound as “Greenwashing” in a way, marketing is still needed to get the word out.

4. We are Wild – Deodorant Redefined

Refillable deodorant packaing - By Wild Wild refillable deodorant cases

While pretty much all bathroom products are single used and thrown away Wild went on a mission to redefine one piece, the deodorant. Here’s what they offer:

  • Refillable – The new way of making toiletries, 1 case to keep and rest should be refillable. This is how Wild is doing it, all of their cases are made from aluminum that can last up to a lifetime, and 100% compostable refills which can be sent to your doorstep.
  • No synthetic nasties – Natural, vegan, cruelty free. Very often we see brands use these words and end up not following up on their promise. That’s why Wild has listed an entire list of the ingredients they use. Transparency.

Takeaway: Wild is one of many new upcoming brands that give us an option to refill our products without leaving waste behind us. We should take advantage in this movement where it can be implemented with shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes and the list of examples go on. Go refillable, push one time use away.

5. Noissue

As we mentioned packaging is one small step to branding yourself as sustainable, but its still a step that you have to take. Using less paper or carton as packaging is the go to at the moment and the company Noissue stepped in to automate it and get your packaging game to the next level.

Sustainable packaging and branding for eCommerce stores Noissue sutainable branding and packaging

  • Compostable & recyclable: There is no excuse to provide plastic within you packaging anymore. Companies such as Noissue can provide an easy automatic solution to sustainable product delivery. It’s all the few clicks away and fully customizable for any brand.
  • Distribution & Logistics: Their distribution network is continuously growing, and it’s located in key locations to reduce emissions that provide optimal delivery speed.

Takeaway: We keep seeing plastic being used everywhere for packaging. There are already new laws coming in action to stop that from happening, so it would be a great idea to make the switch and be ready. Preparing for branding and new detailed box for your product can certainly take time, and delaying shipments can be stressful.

Are you going to follow the steps and change the environmental impact of your business?

While people are still discovering this new eco lifestyle, it definitely takes an effort for both customers and businesses to pave way and come up with something new. This doesn’t mean we cannot try to do better or adopt practices from the rest. We all must start from somewhere and do our bits, by being transparent and always work on improving our practices to be more sustainable, there is nothing but benefits for everyone involved.

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