3 Quick and Easy Ways to Implement Sustainable Shipping

Brandi Smith, Marketing Director

Does your brand help people change the world for the better? Over the past years, the need for ‘sustainable lifestyles’ has become imperative for consumers. However, while people think they can make a difference, they want more help doing it by the brands they choose and trust. A Futurra survey of 1,000 consumers in the US and UK revealed an overwhelming demand for brands to step up in helping to improve environmental and social footprints, and if not, face the risk of disappointing 88% of them.  

One way to address this rising consumer desire is to implement sustainable shipping practices — think speed of delivery and eco-friendly packaging and carriers. And the proof is in the data. 47 percent of consumers participating in the 2019 IPC Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey said they want parcel packaging to be recyclable, and 28% said they prefer carbon-neutral delivery. Interestingly, while speedy delivery is still important to most consumers, the survey found that 28% of respondents were willing to wait longer for their parcel to show up on the front porch if it meant it would reduce the environmental impact. 

Unfortunately for shippers, the same report revealed that while consumers would like greener deliveries, they’re not willing to pay extra for it. In fact, only 1% of survey respondents had paid extra for sustainable packaging, and 43% said they were unlikely to pay extra for sustainable deliveries. This desire for sustainable packaging and greener delivery at little to no extra cost is putting pressure on shippers to improve sustainable shipping while keeping costs down—not necessarily an easy trick to pull off but it is possible without it being an overwhelming endeavor.

Here are three quick and easy ways you can introduce sustainable shipping practices into your business:

1. Slow down shipping

While many customers still want certain products such as groceries, some essentials and urgent items sooner than later, Accenture’s 2019 Annual Holiday Local Shopping Survey showed that 50% of shoppers are willing to opt for greener delivery options even if that meant slower shipping lead times or in-store pickups in order to reduce the impact on the environment. This option allows retailers and other shippers to utilize a multi-carrier strategy and find cost-effective delivery options, which may be greener and slower than typical carriers.   

2. Pack efficiently and eco-friendly

Retailers can opt for recycled packaging materials and eco-friendly filling — opt for less expensive paper over more costly and less environmentally friendly packaging materials like Styrofoam peanuts — to help improve their shipping sustainability reputation and reduce their carbon footprint. Another way to help reduce not only waste but costs, is by packing more efficiently. Recent studies have shown that customers are increasingly agitated with wasteful and inefficient packaging, which is leading to consumer derision — and dents to company reputation. By packing items — either separately or grouping orders — into the right sized carton that is neither too big nor too small can not only reduce the number of shipments but also avoid carrier dimensional weight (DIM) fees at the same time, making your sustainable shipping not only better for the environment but for your brand and bottom line as well. 

3. Use an eco-friendly shipper

While traditional hub-and-spoke carriers aim to implement more environmentally conscious efforts — such as electric vehicles or solar panels powering their distribution centers filled with LED lighting — the reality is their process to get parcels to their endpoint destination remains highly inefficient and incredibly carbon intensive. The hub structure requires routing to and from transfer stations. This causes large, heavy duty trucks to travel much greater distances, and in some cases even bypass a parcel’s intended destination, to a master sorting centre. These sorting centers service extremely large areas which require another dedicated trip truck to get parcels to the distribution center nearest to the final delivery destination, with another small truck sent to deliver these parcels within the local area.  

At ShipperBee, we’re on a mission to change the world of regional shipping (you can read more about it here) by dramatically reducing the carbon footprint the shipping industry has on the planet. Our shipping model is truly first-of-its-kind when it comes to supporting a healthier planet. We accomplish this in two ways of differentiation over traditional hub and spoke carriers:

Leveraging a Collaborative Delivery Driver Network

I bet you’re thinking, what the heck is a Collaborative Delivery Driver Network? In our world, it’s a crowdsourced model that taps into people already on the road to scale regional parcel delivery. It’s formulated on our CEO and Founder’s vision that if every driver today leveraged the Power of While and carried a few parcels, there would be significantly fewer trucks on the road. With transportation accounting for 1.8 million metric tons of emissions and 23% from medium-heavy duty trucks, reducing their presence on the road means fewer carbon emissions polluting the air — not to mention less congestion to deal with on our major highways and routes. According to our studies, by tapping into unused vehicle space in cars already on the road, we’re reducing carbon emissions by an astonishing 73.1% per parcel.

Eliminating Hub-and-Spoke with our Hive Technology

As mentioned above, we don’t have mass distribution and sorting centers, or large trucks to transport parcels to and from their point of origin and final delivery destination. We plot a direct delivery route for every parcel we deliver using our Hive transfer mailboxes. Hives house our parcels as they are transferred by our collaborative delivery driver network to their final delivery destination. They are strategically placed at gas and convenience locations in heavily populated regions throughout North America. Why gas and convenience locations?  They’re located on frequently travelled routes making parcel pick up and drop off to the Hives a quick and easy task for our collaborative delivery driver network — not to mention the convenience of being able to refuel and get a grab and go snack while making a delivery.

As consumers look to maintain a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and demand the same standard from the brands they choose to purchase from, there’s no time like the present to take action to demonstrate impactful corporate social responsibility initiatives. Sustainable shipping can be a quick and easy solution to getting your brand one step closer. Let us show you how. Contact us today.  

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