Etsy’s Shipping Initiative Puts Other E-Commerce Platforms to Shame – Want to Go Green? Take a Leaf Out of Etsy’s Book

It's official; Etsy has just become the first ever international e-commerce marketplace to offset ALL its shipping emissions – how awesome is that?!

Etsy's Journey

This is the big question. How on earth has Etsy managed to offset all their toxic shipping secretions?

Well, first things first, Etsy kickstarted things by installing solar panels on the roof of their HQ in Brooklyn. We all know that solar energy is one of the cleanest forms of electricity we can use, so that was certainly a step in the right direction.

However, last year, Etsy stepped things up a notch by partnering with Apple. Together they were able to combine their efforts and resources to launch new wind and solar farms.

With these green initiatives in place, Etsy was able to run their operations using just renewable energy sources.

In addition to all the above, the company also transferred all its data and documents over to Google’s cloud. This was a fabulous idea because it's just another resource running solely on renewable power.

We also love that Etsy's offices are all zero waste, which again helps the company reduce its carbon footprint. Impressively, they achieved this goal two years ahead of schedule!

So, with all these remarkable eco-friendly practices in place, the Etsy team soon realized that the bulk of their carbon emissions came from shipping. To date, Etsy has over 2.1 million vendors registered on their marketplace. With so many artisans selling top-quality goods it's hardly surprising their shipping was responsible for 98% of their carbon footprint.

Not to mention, the distance e-commerce packages travel each and every day in the States equates to around 133,000 trips to the moon and back! Consequently, that's a lot of nasty gasses released into the earth's atmosphere.

Although Etsy isn't directly responsible for the shipping of their sellers, the company felt it necessary to step up to the plate and do something about it. So, they made it their mission to lessen the impact their deliveries have on the environment.

etsy shipping

How Has Etsy Managed to Offset Their Shipping Emissions?

The company has been working closely alongside a brand called 3Degrees. 3Degrees is famous for helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint and do their bit to tackle climate change.

So, what have they done with 3Degrees?

Put simply; they've launched the following projects:

  • UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project: This year Etsy is helping to preserve over 10 million trees in Minnesota. These trees help to absorb noxious carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while protecting wildlife and supporting the supply of forestry products that can be sustainably sourced.
  • Meridian Magnesium SF6 Reduction in the Automotive Sector: Etsy has invested in the research and development of new technologies that reduce the emission of greenhouse gas , SF6, during the creation of car parts. Shockingly, this is 22,800 times more potent than standard carbon dioxide.
  • Giriraj Wind Power Project: Etsy is also funding companies developing and using wind energy in India.
  • The Solar Grouped Project by ACME: Etsy has invested in 11 solar farms across India. Without them, the electricity used would have been generated via coal power plants.

All in all, the above projects help to either reduce or capture all the toxic emissions that arise as a result of Etsy’s artisans shipping their goods.

This is how it works.

Etsy instantly purchases carbon offsets via 3Degrees each time a product is bought from their marketplace. Unbelievably, the purchase of these ‘offsets' doesn't cost consumers a dime.

This is what Josh Silverman, CEO of Etsy has to say on the subject;

“We don’t need to wait for electric trucks and electric planes. We can get going on offsetting the carbon that is a result of our marketplace immediately.”

What does Silverman think about offering customers emission offsets as a checkout option?

Well, when he realized it would cost less than a penny per delivery, this is what he had to say;

“Why would you ever make someone tick a box or not for something that’s less than a penny?” he says. “That’s ridiculous. It adds more friction than it’s worth.”

As such, Etsy has opted to focus on its other eco-friendly projects to offset their emissions.

Not to mention, when Etsy learned that only 10% to 20% of consumers pay emission offset fees they soon realized they'd have to foot the bill if they wanted to make a real difference.

This is what Chelsea Mozen, Etsy’s sustainability lead had to say;

“It was really important for us to take full responsibility and be able to say that footprint was completely neutralized.”

etsy shipping

What About Other E-Commerce Marketplaces?

With Etsy blazing the trail in this arena, it certainly put the pressure on other e-commerce marketplaces.

Interestingly, Amazon has recently announced its most recent green initiative; ‘Shipment Zero.' This project outlines a plan for Amazon to reach net zero emissions from both their own and their merchant's shipping endeavors. By 2030, Amazon wants to achieve this for half of its shipments.

How? At the time of writing, Amazon has employed more than 200 scientists, engineers, and product designers to find new ways of operating in a more eco-friendly way. Their overarching aim is to eventually use only renewable energy.

They've made great strides by doing all of the following:

  • Using more and more electric vehicles.
  • Supporting the development of aviation biofuels
  • Utilizing reusable packaging
  • Harnessing the benefits of renewable energy

How awesome is that?!

It Gets Better

Wait, it gets better.

Back in February of this year, Etsy decided to celebrate their milestone by offsetting shipping emissions for the whole of the American e-commerce market! That's the equivalent of conserving 100 square miles of American forests for an entire year.

Nice one Etsy.

What Are Your Thoughts?

All in all, it's safe to say that Etsy's commitment to saving the planet is nothing short of impressive. We hope this milestone encourages other e-commerce stores and marketplaces to commit themselves to offset some of their carbon footprints.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you use any other brands with a strong commitment to the environment? If so, we'd love to hear from you in the comments box below. Speak soon!

Rosie Greaves

Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist who specializes in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to e-commerce platforms, you can find her published on Contena, Cake and Lace Blog, and Love You Tomorrow. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.