FSC certified eco-friendly packaging

Why Modern Ecommerce Companies Need Eco-Friendly Brand Elements

Adopting sustainable and eco-friendly business practices is a must for brands that want to succeed with modern conscientious customers - in particular millennials and Gen Z. Interest in eco-friendly brands has been steadily increasing over the last few years and it has jumped significantly in just the past 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In many industries, including food, cosmetics, and fashion, eco-friendly brands are already seeing serious growth that would have been unexpected just a few short years ago. 

Just how big is the opportunity for brands that incorporate eco-friendly elements into their DNA? Keep reading to find out.

Consumers Prefer Sustainable Companies

In a 2019 WWF survey, half of respondents worldwide said they had switched brands because a company violated their values, and that protecting the environment was the number one reason for making a change. 

According to one 2020 survey, 77% of consumers believe that it’s important for products to be sustainable and environmentally responsible. Approximately 57% would change their purchasing habits if it reduced their impact on the environment. And 72% would pay more money to support brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible. 

About 78% of consumers believe companies should be doing more to help them make better environmental decisions and 65% now expect the environmental benefits of buying and using a product to be clearly explained on the product label or company website.  

It would be natural to assume that this is merely a generational shift, but that assumption would be wrong. The feeling spans all age groups. Below is a breakdown by generation of the percentage who believe sustainability is “moderately” to “extremely” important:

  • Baby Boomers: 75%
  • Generation Xers: 77%
  • Millennials: 79%
  • Generation Zers: 75%

Adopting an Eco-Business Model for Your Brand

You don’t need to buy a rainforest to become more environmentally friendly. Even without a budget, there are plenty of ways to start, simply by being conscious of the environment when you are making business decisions. Here are a few examples of ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Sustainable sourcing: Ensure you work with suppliers who provide employees with a living wage, under legal and humane working conditions.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle: Most people focus on recycling, but there’s a reason why it was put third in the three R’s. Reducing consumption is the most important issue to tackle, followed by reusing items, and finally recycling those items you can no longer reuse. 
  • Composting: Even if your city has a composting program, consider participating in a community garden, or creating your own workplace vegetable garden. 
  • Sustainable packaging: Recycled paper products or recyclable packaging is often less expensive than other options and can increase sales from environmentally-conscious consumers. Arka offers eco-friendly and sustainable packaging options. You can check their premium custom shipper boxes and custom mailer boxes that help brands boost awareness and gain customer trust.
  • Energy efficiency: LED lighting, smart thermostats and shutting down computers when they’re not in use will reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the same time.
  • Remote workers: Giving employees the opportunity to work from home, even for a couple days each week, reduces carbon emissions with less cars on the road. 
  • Public transportation: For employees who do come to the office every day, consider giving them incentives to use public transportation, like paying for bus passes. Your city may even give you a subsidy for this program.
  • Green energy: Solar panels, wind turbine power and electric vehicles have come down in pricing substantially in recent years. Consider these options to power your workplace or fuel your fleet of company cars.
  • Eco-friendly partners: Working with carbon-neutral vendors, shipping companies with carbon neutral options, and even web hosting providers will put you in a healthy network that will help attract more customers.
  • Buy carbon offsets: There is a long list of organizations that will help you calculate your carbon footprint and give you the opportunity to purchase offsets. Examine where the organization invests your payments and ensure the organization is certified by a third party.

Which initiatives you begin will undoubtedly depend on your brand, your existing practices, and your company’s principles and vision. Whenever you make a business decision that will positively affect the environment, make sure you discuss it with your marketing team so each new development can be incorporated into your branding and messaging too. 

Benefits of Eco-Friendly Practices

If you’re uncertain of what business benefits there may be in becoming eco-friendly, take a look at your direct competitors and major companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Not only do eco-friendly business practices benefit the world, they can benefit your community and your balance sheet!

Financial Benefits 

Becoming an eco-friendly company not only reduces costs, it can dramatically increase sales. In cases where your costs do increase and your pricing increases as a result, this should not have a negative impact on sales, provided your branding highlights the eco-friendly initiatives you’ve been taking. 

Tax Incentives

Eco-friendly measures like installing solar panels, fuel cells or wind turbines may be eligible for a 26% corporate tax credit from the IRS, in addition to any state incentives you may qualify for. Even home-based businesses can qualify for significant tax breaks through rebates, personal tax credits, and more. Minnesota, for example, offers incentives for solar panels, electric vehicles, and installing plugs for electric vehicles that can be applied to businesses as well as residences.

There are several resources available online that will give you information about programs available from federal and state authorities. One of the most comprehensive is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, run by North Carolina State University. 

Community Impact

Being environmentally friendly certainly helps the world, but its effects can be seen right within your community. This may start off with one more community garden or a few less cars on the road, but this spirals outward. Employees are happier and as they become more eco-friendly, as are their family, friends, and neighbors. 

To drive an even bigger impact on your community, consider partnering with or sponsoring local organizations that plant trees and gardens, pick up litter, or otherwise make the community a better and healthier place to live.

Public Image

There is an old adage that says ‘doing good things isn’t enough.’ You have to be seen doing them for it to count. And this is especially important for your marketing. For an example of brands that are eco-friendly and do a great job of integrating it into their marketing, just take a look at Christy Dawn, Areem and Kinn Home. Their principles are clearly explained and demonstrated by their actions. 

Successfully Eco-Branding Your Business

One additional benefit of being an eco-friendly company is how well your brand is embraced by audiences that want to protect the environment.

Start with Your Website

Begin by creating a page on your website dedicated to your eco-friendly initiatives and ensure it’s linked prominently on your home page. If your business qualifies for certification from recognized (and legitimate) organizations, find out what is required to post those credentials on your website. The EPA’s Wastewise program is just one example of a program that encourages companies to post their logo on their website. 

Generate Eco-Friendly Content

Integrate your environmental initiatives into your marketing strategies, particularly when it comes to organic content on your blog and social media profiles. Consider appointing someone in your organization as your Environmental Ambassador who can create content highlighting your efforts and engage relevant communities.

If one of your first initiatives, for example, is to change suppliers, document your reasons for this and share it with your audience. If you’re supporting a local tree-planting organization, promote them on your social feeds. If you are composting, starting a community garden, or implementing a zero-waste policy in your office, document and post these too — and watch your brand awareness grow as followers repost your content to their friends and family.

Hawke Media has worked with hundreds of eco-friendly brands over the years. To talk to someone about how you can leverage your initiatives in a sustainable marketing strategy, ask for a free consultation. 


Need packaging?