How to make your e-commerce store carbon neutral

With more people shopping online than ever before, it’s essential for e-commerce stores to reduce their environmental impact if we want to move towards a more sustainable future. Let’s explore ways that e-commerce stores can reduce their footprint and become part of the carbon solution.

Increase your carbon transparency

The first step is admitting the scope of the problem. Take a closer look at your operations and identify areas where you can reduce your carbon footprint. There are many innovative solutions for e-commerce, so don’t be afraid to be transparent.

By being transparent about your carbon emissions, you can build trust with your customers and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

Reduce the energy load

Reducing the problem (the amount of energy loading your site uses) is better than offsetting in most cases. But what does that mean? Most of the things you can do to reduce your website’s energy footprint go hand-in-hand with good development and search engine optimisation. It’s the usual suspects like:

  • minimising the number of HTTP requests your site makes
  • reducing image and file sizes
  • using effective caching techniques
  • ensuring you have clean & efficient code.

If you have a well-optimised store, your blistering fast loading speeds will reduce the amount of energy required to load your pages and will rank well on Google.

Choose sustainable hosting

Okay, so you’ve reduced the energy your store uses. What next? The infrastructure that your website is hosted on can also have a huge impact on its carbon footprint. To ensure that your e-commerce store is as environmentally friendly as possible, choose a web hosting provider that uses renewable energy sources and has a commitment to sustainability.

How can you tell if a host is carbon neutral or offers to offset? Just ask! A growing number of service providers (including AirVu Media) offer carbon-neutral hosting as standard.

Reduce packaging waste & offset deliveries

Now you’re hosted somewhere more friendly to the planet, we can talk logistics. One of the biggest sources of waste in e-commerce is packaging. To minimise your environmental impact, you can use eco-friendly packaging materials, reduce the size and weight of packages, and use packaging materials that are easily recyclable or biodegradable.

You might think that all of this will cost you a fair amount, but many consumers will pay a premium for the peace of mind that they buy from a sustainable brand. Around 75% of customers recently said they’d pay a premium of 35% for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.*

Smarter offsetting

You can go one step further down this path and offer customers the chance to offset their exact emissions when they purchase a product. Owners of Shopify stores have easy integration options to carbon offsetting tools such as Offset Earth or EcoCart. These programs allow customers to offset their e-commerce with a click of a button. If you’re working on WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or Adobe Commerce (formerly Magneto), there are still ways to offset purchases using APIs that can calculate the exact amount required. That way, when a customer buys from you, they can be safe knowing that you are offsetting their purchase.

And you don’t have to stop at products! Many companies use APIs to offset email sign-ups, ebook downloads, and event emails sent. Anything that uses energy can be offset.

How to choose the best carbon offset option

Not all carbon offsetting projects are created equally. So, when choosing a partner, consider the following factors:

  • Actual impacts on renewable energy and carbon reduction: Don’t be afraid to ask for a ledger of projects that are being supported!
  • Look for offsets audited by The Voluntary Gold Standard (VGS)
  • How carbon is neutralised matters: Only high-quality removal projects have the potential to significantly lower greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The key phrase here is high-quality. Working out what that means when it comes to carbon offsetting can be challenging (believe us, we know), but it’s worth doing the research

What next?

Carbon-neutral web hosting is all about finding the right partner with the technical know-how to make it happen. At AirVu Media, we’re an e-commerce marketing agency dedicated to ensuring your web store is as efficient and profitable as possible while working towards more sustainable web usage. If you’re interested in how our web hosting works, contact us today for a free consultation.