The Need of E-commerce to Adopt Sustainable Packaging

Online shopping nirvana begins after you check out an item in your cart and receive your order to  your  doorstep  conveniently  packed.  The  packaging  that  clings protection to your parcel, however, doesn’t at all protect the environment. The majority of these plastic packaging are made up of harmful materials and often end up in landfills or water sources because the materials used  can  no  longer  be  recycled.  Global  e-commerce  giants  like  Amazon  and  Target  are committed to innovating more sustainable packaging solutions, which is why Philippine-based e-commerce companies are encouraged to follow. Ultimately, what is sustainability? Sustainability entails addressing current needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own.

Sachet Economy

It’s ironic how small packets can be a big problem to the planet. The aggravating issue caused by single-use plastics caused the country to be locked in the so-called sachet economy. Be that as it may, e-commerce startups and giants must adopt sustainable packaging and discourage using bubble wraps, styrofoam, and all others, increasing carbon and environmental footprint. According to the World Bank Group, the Philippines is the third-largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution. Plastic is killing the oceans and marine life at an estimated 0.75 million metric tons per year.

Lacks Waste Disposal Facilities

In addition to the massive amount of mismanaged plastics that enter the country each year, the Philippines lacks essential waste disposal facilities. One can only imagine how imbalanced the country’s plastic pollution problem is. While there are existing initiatives in the country that constantly     develop    facilities    converting    waste    into    renewable    energy,    instilling pro-environmental behaviors are equally important because waste disposal, in general, should be a collaborative effort of lawmakers, private sectors, and the community.

Filipino Consumers transition to a Sustainable Lifestyle

An accelerating number of Filipinos are adapting to a sustainable lifestyle. According to research issued by Who Cares, Who Does, 75 percent of Filipino consumers prefer to support sustainable and eco-friendly products and are committed to being more responsible buyers. Increasing awareness of more and more end-users of the supply chain and value chain of the products they consume  is  just  evidence  of how necessary the action of injecting sustainability efforts and initiatives amongst businesses is.

Sets Apart from Competitors

With  ever-changing  consumer and purchasing behavior, creating more sustainable packaging solutions, including shipping methods, may yield social and environmental benefits and have a significant economic (short- and long-term) impact on the e-commerce industry, thus helping them differentiate their product amid the surging of competitors. Environmental friendly packaging will help businesses establish a solid reputation. Further, it cannot be denied how a massive chunk of end-users dominate social media platforms advocating willingness to change their buying patterns to reduce environmental impact. Hence, switching to sustainable packaging will give e-commerce companies an edge to achieve customer loyalty. And customer loyalty equates to repeat orders.

Vast Influence on Green Thinking

Alongside   the   good   environmental   contribution   of  sustainable  packaging  solutions,  the e-commerce industry seems to overlook how extensive its reach is. Millions of Filipinos are now kicking  off  to  appreciate  online  shopping,  and  this  platform  can  be  taken  advantage  of  to promote sustainable values and practices. The irony of how small of a country the Philippines is and  how  it  became  one  of  the  most  prominent  pollutants  in  the  world  is  alarming.  Thus, exploiting such channels to educate is deemed vital and can be explored further.

In the next few years, online shopping is likely to expand. While we all enjoy the convenience that the e-commerce industry provides, we may not reap the full benefits in the long term if consumers   and   companies   will   not   start   to   shop   and   do   business   responsibly.   For Philippine-based e-commerce companies, adopting sustainable packaging materials and logistics setup may be a challenge and a tremendous leap, but will eventually reap long-term benefits.

It all boils down to gaining profit – that is the sole purpose why the majority of businesses operate. On the other hand, satisfaction and convenience are the main grounds for consumers’ motivation to buy online. Nevertheless, suppose we were to analyze the overall construction. In that case, all businesses and people have something in common, we all exist on one planet, and it is  everyone’s  responsibility  to  take  care  of  it.  Creating  solutions  to  maximize  the  use  of sustainable packaging and logistics operations can press a significant decrease in the environmental footprint of e-commerce. More importantly, Filipino online shoppers’ support can make a massive    difference    through responsible waste disposal and maintaining pro-environmental behaviors related to consumption and removal thereof. It’s about time to think and act green, Philippines!

Reynamy C. Doria
Reynamy C. Doria
Reynamy Doria is a Filipina postgrad student taking up ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management at Universitas Gadjah Mada through the generous funding of the Foreign Ministry of Norway.