Will consumers pay for sustainable shipping?

Sustainability is the desired goal for almost every industry, including eCommerce brands. However, achieving that goal with your eCommerce Fulfilment may mean increased shipping costs for consumers.

What does sustainability mean to Third Party Logistics?

As is sometimes the case with these terms, what is specifically meant by ‘sustainable’ can vary. We are talking about processes that do not contribute detrimentally to the environment and can be maintained without increasing by-products such as Co2 emissions. However, sustainability is also intimately linked to improving our work to meet the national green agenda and our own high standards.

Sustainable and environmentally friendly shipping is something we are committed to here at Synergy for many reasons. The top of the list is simply that it is the right thing to do. The environment is important to us all, and commercial transport has a huge impact. In 2019 around 18% of road transport emissions came from HGV traffic and another 17% from vans, which is only in the actual road-based part of the chain. When you add storage, warehousing and packaging, you see how complex the path to sustainable supply can be. Barriers and problems, though, cannot affect our journey because this issue is too big to allow anything to stop our progress. It matters to us.

Does Sustainable Fulfilment matter to consumers?

Demand for eCommerce fulfilment is soaring, but the need to improve sustainable processes must remain a priority despite the pressure to meet demand. Customers are becoming increasingly conscious of the need for sustainable shipping, and the emerging gen-Z buyers are environmentally aware by default. The 3PL aspect of your service is therefore highly visible to your customers and not just because of traditional factors such as shipping times and quality control, but also through the need to show awareness of environmental issues. So, while sustainable logistics matters to an aware customer base, the question is does it matter enough to them that they will pay a premium?

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Will consumers bear the cost of green?

In short, yes. Consumers are aware of the cost of sustainability, and many are willing to pay a premium for sustainable goods and other services. According to 2021, a multinational review across various industries, 63% of respondents said sustainability was a purchase criterion. Additionally, the rise in eco-friendly products and sustainable fashion is evidence of the changing customer expectations. 

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that this desire for sustainability carries through to the delivery process. Given a choice, buyers will be willing to consider contributing to protecting the environment. 

As an eCommerce business, the question then is not whether consumers care but how much they are willing to contribute towards the cost of sustainability. Talking about sustainability in your products and supply chain is no longer an option; it is an expectation of your customers. 

Perhaps the inclusion of an ‘offset’ button at checkout or a similar ‘green shipping’ could offer them the opportunity to become part of your own goals towards sustainability. Some industries (fashion and cosmetics, for example) have already made great strides towards awareness of the supply chain sustainability for their consumers, so it is important to maintain the display of these values at the point of sale.

How we can help you

As your 3PL partner, we are working to make our processes as green as possible. It may not be easy, but it is our responsibility to help by identifying where we can increase our sustainability and then implementing the appropriate actions. We constantly monitor and review our carbon production and waste disposal. As a result, we recycle almost 800 tonnes of cardboard and plastic a year, and we are committed to ensuring that nothing from our sites ends up in a landfill. Our energy use is also under constant review, and we will achieve 100% renewable energy efficiency. Our teams are highly trained in quality control which reduces the waste from returns and stock destruction.  

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The world of logistics is a convoluted place at times. What should be a simple enough process on the surface, i.e., the stock is stored, picked, packed and transported, can be a rather delicate interplay of different factors, technology and long-term planning. A good 3PL company will be able to deal with these factors and keep an eye on the future. Whatever comes along, we are committed to not allowing our sustainability standards to be compromised.

We are always happy to talk about your needs, so if you want to make your eCommerce Fulfilment sustainable, why not call us and see how we can help?

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Gary Rees

Gary Rees

Gary Rees is the owner of Synergy Retail Support, one of the leading SME fulfilment centres in the UK. Having successfully grown the business for over 30 years and with relationships with most household brands, he now looks to partner with customers rather than just act as a supplier so that both parties can grow together. Gary has extensive knowledge in retail compliance, production technologies, shipping details and customer service.

Feel free to contact me personally if you’d like to discuss your business.

01604 412 290