10 ways to make your digital business more sustainable

With climate change dominating the headlines, sustainability in digital retail has become a ‘hot’ topic.

Given the prominence of climate change in today's media, there has been a surge in interest in sustainability in digital retail. Recent studies indicate that consumers are increasingly inclined to support brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, especially among environmentally-conscious Gen Zers. To help you prioritise sustainability in your digital business, SQLI has compiled a list of 10 strategies for transformation.

10 sustainable strategies you need to know

What’s been labelled the ‘throwaway’ economy is undergoing major change, with brands encouraging consumers to return items rather than discard them. Levi’s and IKEA are offering customers money off new items when they return used products and then repurposing or reselling them for a second life.

From using less packaging to more sustainable materials, getting your packaging right is vital. Digital cosmetics brand Adore uses warehouse management software to find the dimensions and weights of its products and ensure the smallest box is used with each order.

Carbon off-setting allows a digital business to cut down on their carbon footprint. Ideas include:

  • Forest preservation or tree planting
  • Investing in renewables
  • Invest profits into grassroots initiatives

Could your business develop a rental strategy to help reverse the fast fashion trend? John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are among brands leading the way, with the former offering accessories and clothing rental from £7 for up to 20 days.

Digital retailers are using Augmented Reality to show customers how trainers, watches or even furniture can look in real-life, through mobile phone apps. Less unexpected surprises when products arrive, mean less returns – and a more sustainable model.

Click-and-collect offers more convenience for customers, while cutting back on deliveries and packaging. IKEA’s partnership with Tesco allows customers to pick up orders from its carparks, while SQLI partner Screwfix made it integral to its business model.

Let customers understand where your products come from and materials used, to highlight your sustainable credentials. Can you use locally-sourced products to reduce your brand’s carbon footprint?

Almost five million metric tonnes of plastic are placed on the market each year, of which three-quarters become waste. Tesco has ditched the wrapping on its own brand drinks in a bid to reach its goal of saving 45million pieces of plastic a year.

Many digital businesses are incorporating more sustainable delivery models into their strategies. Could you combine deliveries – or partner with logistical businesses using electric vehicles?

Where can your business cut back on excess waste? SQLI partner Daylesford, an organic and sustainable food and homeware business, has a long-standing partnership with The Felix Project which redistributes leftover food to charities.

Want to find out how SQLI is supporting digital businesses in becoming more sustainable?

Let's talk