Top tips for sustainable shipping

Top tips for sustainable shipping
Arthur Lam
Arthur LamMarketing DirectorUPS

Posted: Tue 30th Mar 2021

Increasingly, the topic of sustainability is moving to the forefront of business strategy. Customer demand for sustainable options is driving business to adopt new policies that demonstrate eco-friendly practices of sourcing, manufacturing and shipping.

The wellbeing of the environment has become even more important to consumers amidst COVID-19.

According to the recent UPS Smart E-Commerce report 2021, 77% of UK consumers consider the environment and sustainability important when making purchasing decisions and expect to see retailers taking steps toward carbon footprint reduction and sustainable packaging.

So, how can you make your business more sustainable and in turn attract new customers and build brand loyalty? Here are my recommendations:

Make shipping hassle-free and sustainable

E-commerce relies on a complex logistics and delivery network. According to the World Economic Forum, last-mile delivery vehicles could emit an additional six million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2030 – an estimate made before recent events sparked growth in e-commerce deliveries.

If consumers continue to turn to e-commerce for retail and grocery deliveries after the worst of the pandemic is over, we may see the emissions from last-mile shipping increase from current projections.

If this occurs, it will become even more critical for retailers to choose a delivery company with an integrated network that offers sustainable last-mile delivery solutions.

For example, we at UPS are introducing sustainable urban solutions, like electric cycles for delivery, in 30 cities worldwide.

Provide alternative delivery methods for your customer

In our study of online shoppers, 83% of UK consumers said that being able to choose an alternative delivery location is the most important factor when selecting a delivery option.

We have a wide network of alternative drop-off options such as Access Points™ which save you, the retailer, money and time in addition to the benefits for your customer.

The Access Point™ network allows drivers to reduce driving and carbon emissions by having a centralised delivery location.

In addition to the environmental benefits, many consumers prefer using Access Point™ locations as they allow them to receive their parcel when it is most convenient for them and not worry about being home for the delivery.

An easier way for you to ship

According to a recent study, 46% of small and medium-sized businesses say competition is their biggest obstacle to growth. One area where you can be ahead of the competition is through streamlining your shipping process and not wasting time dropping off parcels.

A shipping option that many retailers prefer is UPS Smart Pickup®, which uses innovative technology to automatically arrange a collection only when you have parcels to ship. Having UPS come to your business only when you have a parcel to ship saves fuel and reduces carbon emissions.

Easily offset the climate impact of your shipment

According to our recent findings, 32% of UK consumers are expecting carbon offsetting from smaller retailers. Carbon neutral shipping offered by logistic providers is a way to offset the carbon footprint of e-commerce shipments and appeal to the environmentally conscious consumer.

Programmes like UPS's carbon neutral shipping allow small businesses like yours to support projects that purchase and retire carbon offsets equal to the amount of carbon emitted during shipping.

For example, with UPS carbon-neutral shipping, for every tonne of CO2 a parcel produces in transport, an equivalent amount of CO2 is saved by a verified emission reduction project around the globe.

Upgrade your packaging sustainably

According to the recent UPS Smart E-commerce report, the use of sustainable packaging is the biggest action consumers want to see from retailers – 56% of the consumers in the UK expressed a desire sustainable packaging to be used by smaller retailers.

For small businesses looking to appeal to their customers through sustainable packaging, recycled packing materials can be a great place to start! Consider using eco-friendly packaging products like bubble wrap, non-toxic foam, biodegradable twine, biodegradable starch peanuts, and recyclable green anti-static peanuts.

For example, at UPS we offer a recycled express packaging which consists of more than 80% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Along with the importance of being sustainable for our future, consumers will take note of the initiatives your business is doing to become more environmentally friendly. It is clear consumers are constantly looking for sustainable brands to support, especially small businesses, and using some of the services listed above can strengthen the scope of your eco-friendly practices.

Relevant resources

Arthur Lam
Arthur LamMarketing DirectorUPS
Arthur is an experienced Director with a demonstrated track record of success in the logistics and supply chain industry globally (lived and worked in Hong Kong, Canada, US, China and UK) for almost two decades across Marketing, Communications, Strategy and Business Development roles. Arthur is currently in charge of MarComm function and as part of the business unit leadership team for UK, Ireland and the Nordics countries within UPS. His responsibilities include Opportunity and Strategy development, Revenue Management, Value creation/positioning and Communications to accelerate growth and continuous profit improvement. Arthur holds a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Toronto.

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