The climate, you’ve heard the discussion. There is nothing to talk about; we all have to take responsibility as much as possible. If you look at general trends, I don’t just mean in the telecom industry; buying things physically in shops has been replaced by e-commerce with a vast choice and competition from worldwide.
What to do about the increasing numbers of e-orders?
One of the downsides of e-commerce, for the climate, is that goods are shipped long distances. Another is that we get a lot of electronics that are not approved according to European requirements. The third is that goods returned to the e-tailer, even if you buy locally, have to be repackaged in another country because it is too expensive to repackage the goods in Sweden. So when you order online, it can be so bad that goods are sent from the Netherlands to you as a customer in Sweden. The goods don’t fit, so you return them, and the goods are then sent to Poland, or in the worst case Asia, to be refurbished and then returned to the warehouse in the Netherlands again. You can see that the climate spin is extensive here.
So what does it have to do with us “in the business”? I see a few trends that we are bringing from e-commerce at home to work. Free shipping is something you “should” offer to be competitive, but I don’t quite get the climate equation. When we discussed shipping and climate internally recently, we dared to say no, something I’m proud of, free shipping encourages straw purchases, but it’s not the healthiest thing for the climate.
Road and air transport impact our environment, and therefore we must all take responsibility for minimising unnecessary transport. Just a small factor like packaging sizes affects the number of lorries, containers or boats. Transporting air has an impact on our environment for the worse.
I’ve put together a little checklist for you of things I think you can do at your company for the environment when it comes to shipping:
1. Think through purchases and reduce the number of small orders.
2. Only work with shipping that is carbon offset.
3. Add a shipping cost that clarifies that shipping is a cost to the environment.
4. Put your logistics hub locally in Sweden instead to reduce the transport of each shipment.
5. Make sure not to pack packages full of air and packing materials, minimise unnecessary air in your shipments.
6. Use a logistics partner with many deliveries per day. Such a partner will pack the trucks fuller and reduce the environmental impact.
7. Go for a wide range of products, so the customer can order everything from you instead of ordering several small deliveries.
I now only use climate-compensated shipping. It’s the healthiest thing for the climate right now, I think, in addition to trying to limit purchases and freight. And it’s entirely possible to work with carbon offsetting both for all deliveries to Sweden and out to customers. So, here is a tip. Don’t complicate things if you think about what you can do for the climate—even small steps in the right direction count.