As consumers become environmentally conscious, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important pillar for any e-commerce brand. In fact, according to Shopify’s Future of Commerce report, almost half (46%) of Australian consumers prefer green or sustainable products and 44% respond positively to retailers making a donation to a cause with each purchase. Customers increasingly expect retailers to be making environmentally conscious choices in the way they conduct themselves and with the product they sell to the public.
So when it comes to smart sustainable brands, who is getting it right? In this article, five Shopify merchants share what inspires them to make environmentally conscious choices and how others can follow in their footsteps.
Duncan Hilder, co-founder at indoor plant business The Plant Runner says since day one, they have always maintained that they wanted to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
“It comes with the territory, both of us are gardeners and spend so much time outside. We’ve both always loved nature and want to make sure we do our best to reduce our impact,” Duncan says.
Despite numerous design challenges, Duncan says they have always pushed for their products to be glass as opposed to plastic.
“It’s been tough, but we’re so glad we’ve stuck to it. Our customers love our glassware and the effort is 100% worth it,” he says.
When it comes to incorporating sustainable practices into your business, Duncan suggests not to compromise your beliefs and stick to your goals.
“If it seems overwhelming, start small with one change. It might seem easier and cheaper to go with the less sustainable or environmentally friendly option, but if you take it in small steps you’ll find it far more manageable,” he says.
We believe we have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment and find ways we can be a more sustainable business, says Stevie Angel, co-founder at fast-growing sportswear retailer Active Truth.
She says, “We’re continually assessing our footprint and options to improve from materials to production to delivery. We believe our business impact goes beyond making great tights — we know we can have positive societal and environmental impacts through the way we operate.”
Stevie says at Active Truth, they are inspired to simplify their workout wardrobes and do more with less.
“Instead of cheap inferior products that are saggy, stretched and thrown out after a few wears, we make seasonless products in advanced fabrics that utilise world-class techniques. We’re creating longer-lasting garments that will get you through everything from your workouts to everyday activities, and not have to be replaced season after season,” she says.
Sustainability is good for the environment but good for business too, Stevie states.
“It’s a win-win choice. Consumers want transparency around how their products are made and how businesses operate, and they will seek out brands who are making eco-conscious choices. This will only continue to increase in the future,” Stevie adds.
Since Carmel Zein, Founder of sustainable and eco-friendly fitness products at Amina Rose had her daughter, she became conscious of what she was putting in front of her. This led her to think about the kind of future we leave for the younger generation.
“Our time on this earth is limited, it is important we live the best life we can, remaining conscious of every decision we make regarding our health, wellbeing and the environment,” Carmel says.
Carmel says a sustainable journey requires more effort and thoughtfulness, “Particularly at the beginning of the journey, but as you become more aware of your options, you start getting more creative and it becomes easier.
“Simplicity is key, learn to appreciate the little things and remember that convenience isn’t always the best strategy to take,” she adds.
Sustainable cleaning products brand Zero Co Founder Mike Smith started the company after travelling with his wife in 2018 and finding plastic waste in some of the most remote places on the globe.
“I came back home and started working immediately on a solution that would not only clean up the plastic junk left lying around, but also stop the production of new plastic,” Mike says.
For those who want to start their sustainability journeys, Mike says just start somewhere.
“If you’ve got an idea or even the seed of an idea that will help clean up the planet in any way, then taking that first step towards making it happen is the most important thing. None of us are perfect and a lot of us are starting out on our sustainability journey, including myself,” he says.
“Whatever you can do will make a difference.”
The team at S-kin Studio Jewellery have always believed in full transparency when it comes to sharing how they stay true to their commitment to producing sustainable and ethical jewellery, Chi Mai, S-kin Studio founder says.
Chi Mai says the brand is aware that all our actions contribute to the health and welfare of our planet, and we want to be as kind and gentle as possible to our home.
“To work towards this, we have energy and water reduction initiatives in our office and boutique space, and we partner with sustainability organisations to further our environmental impact,” she explains.
Chi encourages other brands to continue to learn about how they can collectively better their processes.
“By simply starting you educate yourself and/or your team you are already taking positive action towards your sustainability journey,” she says. “In living a more considered lifestyle you are investing in our environment and ultimately our earth’s future.”