Customers of e-commerce stores are paying more attention to environmental issues. This means that companies that sell online must adapt to growing consumer expectations.
So how can you effectively introduce ecology into your own warehouse and what do you need to know before taking up this challenge?
Ecologistics and customer expectations
Transport and logistics are usually considered very unecological industries. For more than thirty years, various proposals have been put forward to minimize their negative impact on the environment. Today, however, despite the dynamic changes taking place in logistics under the influence of new technologies, we still have a lot to do.
Consumer trends further accelerate the need for change:
- According to a study by Deloitte from 2023, 55% of consumers have purchased an ecological product or service.
- For 75% of Gen Z shoppers, an eco-friendly approach is more important than brand recognition when making purchasing decisions.
- According to the Global Buying Green Report 2022 86% of European consumers under 45 are willing to pay more for ecological packaging.
- A study from Nielsen found that 73% of shoppers are willing to change their shopping habits if it will have a positive impact on the environment.
All this means that sellers who do not operate ecologically may soon fall behind the competition or even disappear from the market. In recent years, many companies have been investing in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and building a more eco-friendly image.
However, good PR is no longer enough today. For a company to truly operate ecologically while maintaining profitability, it must reorganize its logistics as well. Customers pay attention to how the products they order are packaged, and non-ecological packaging can significantly reduce their satisfaction with the purchase. Moreover, a dissatisfied customer may share this information online and ruin the brand's image, and vice versa - ecological packaging may give it additional points in the race with the competition. This means it’s important to take a closer look at your logistics and minimize its harmful impact on the environment.
Ecologistics - legal requirements
There are also legal aspects to ecological issues in logistics. The European Union is placing a strong emphasis on ecology in e-commerce. Therefore, in recent years, both the EU and individual member states have introduced a number of regulations:
- The European Green Deal assumes that by 2050 the EU will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, and by 2030 it will reduce emissions to at least 55% compared to 1990. This requires fundamental changes in almost every sector of the economy, including logistics and transport.
- In 2021, the EU introduced a directive to ban single-use plastics. By 2030, all plastic products are to be recycled.
- France has introduced an anti-waste law that prohibits companies from disposing of returned or unsold goods.
- In Germany, there is a VerpackG law that applies to packaging imported into the country. It imposes an obligation to cover the cost of packaging disposal on companies that introduce the materials to the local market.
Failure to comply with these and similar provisions not only means the risk of severe financial penalties being imposed. It also means the loss of image and customers, and as a result, even multi-million-dollar losses. Following environmental requirements may not only be a legal requirement, but also a condition for gaining an advantage over the competition and survival in a demanding market.
Solution - fulfillment centers
Organizing logistics on your own, especially during sales peaks, is very difficult and requires many years of experience. If you are not sure whether you will be able to meet this challenge, it is better to entrust it to professionals and focus on the sales and marketing activities of your business. A good solution may be to cooperate with a fulfillment center — an experienced partner will take over the organization of your shipments and help you effectively implement eco-friendly solutions.
Remember that implementing eco-friendly solutions means not only improving the state of the environment, but also increasing sales and customer satisfaction, reducing the number of returns and having a positive impact on many other factors that affect business profitability. That is why we optimize our warehouses and processes to make our clients' logistics as ecologically-friendly as possible.
At Omnipack, we have introduced ecologistics in two main areas:
The method of warehouse management has a key impact on the profitability and eco-friendliness of deliveries. We implement ecologistics in the following way:
- Our logistics centers and warehouses are located near highways and the bases of courier companies. Thanks to this, we can shorten the delivery time and route as much as possible, and thus reduce CO2.
- We segregate and recycle waste. We segregate waste with codes 15 01 01 (paper and cardboard packaging) and 15 01 02 (plastic packaging). In addition, we are registered in the Waste Database, which supervises our waste management and disposal process.
- We have implemented a number of ecological solutions, including: valves regulating water consumption and submeters monitoring utility consumption.
- We use energy-saving LED lighting, which reduces energy consumption by up to 30%.
- The spaces we rent also have the BREEAM certificate (BRE Environmental Assessment Method), which is a popular method in the EU for assessing buildings in terms of their environmental performance, including: CO2 emissions, energy, building materials, development of green areas, water consumption, air quality and acoustics, etc.
Packaging in e-commerce is important because customers often have no influence on how their shipment will be packed. Some stores offer the option of choosing eco-packaging for an additional fee. However, buyers are paying more and more attention to this. At Omnipack, we do not ignore this trend and offer the opportunity to pack products in a way that will satisfy even the most demanding customers.
- We select the size of the boxes to avoid using large amounts of fillers and the cardboard itself. Smaller packaging also allows you to save space in transport vehicles, reduce CO2, and ultimately also save money for the e-store itself since smaller packaging means lower shipping costs. We use foldable cardboard, so from 6 different types of packaging, we can offer 24 sizes and easily adjust the box to the size of the product.
- The fillers, packaging and tapes we use are made of biodegradable materials. We replace the foil with FSC-certified paper. All our boxes are made of 100% recycled materials.
- If possible, we reuse foil packaging, e.g. in the fashion industry.
- We use compostable courier labels, which means that the entire parcel packaging is biodegradable.
- Orders consisting of several products are shipped in one box. While some companies that store products in different locations send them in separate packaging, at Omnipack, we organize our logistics so we don’t have to separate shipments, which reduces the carbon footprint and the amount of waste. It is also more convenient for the customer.
How does Omnipack support you in running an e-store in an ecological manner?
Planning and implementing environmentally-friendly policies on your own is complicated. It involves not only the need to adapt to legal requirements, but also to the growing expectations of customers. This requires knowledge, proper selection of materials and skillful process planning. It is even more difficult in the case of plans for foreign expansion, where the ecological requirements are much higher than in Poland.
As a fulfillment center, we help customers solve these problems. By working with us, you will not have to design processes yourself, search for ecological materials and calculate the profitability of changing packaging. We have already developed all these elements and are ready to share our solutions with you to make your logistics much more ecological and your business profitable almost immediately.
How exactly do we do it?
- We arrange processes
We help our clients develop the most optimal and ecological way of packaging their products, while also highlighting their branding. In this way, we help them move away from plastic-based materials and introduce biodegradable packaging.
- We adapt to the industry
We adapt our method of operation to the industry we serve. For example, in the fashion industry we use bags with a double adhesive strip that allows the same packaging to be used in returns. We protect the clothes in our warehouses against dust and dirt, thus reducing the risk of them being returned by the buyer.
- We work with experts
At Omnipack, we cooperate with ecology experts, including Project Zero Waste. Such organizations support us and our clients in ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.
- We offer choices
While we always share our top recommendations, we give customers choices about how they want their products to be packaged. We present the available options to the client so that the final packaging is not only ecological, but also consistent with the philosophy of the brand. We are able to meet even the most demanding expectations related to ecology.
- We monitor consumption
It might seem that a large warehouse space is difficult to control but nothing could be further from the truth. It is the size of our warehouses that makes careful monitoring of resource consumption necessary, since even small amounts of waste on such a large scale turns into tons of garbage. That's why we have developed an entire monitoring system that allows us to reduce the amount of materials we use.
We will be able to improve your processes and advise you on the best solutions that will ensure compliance with regulations and increase your customer satisfaction.