4 Ways Online Businesses Can Be More Sustainable

ways online businesses can be more sustainable green companies

A common assumption among online business owners (i.e., people who do business purely online) is that they are already more sustainable than their brick and mortar counterparts by definition. Since there is no commercial space to heat, cool, light and power, one’s carbon footprint is negligible. This is not only not necessarily always the case, but there are multiple things even online businesses can do to be more sustainable, regardless of what and where they sell. Below are four examples of things all online businesses can do to be more environmentally conscious today. 

Sustainable Shipping 

In modern e-commerce, the desire for speedy shipment has never been stronger. The volume of things shipped as a result of online shopping has a large environmental impact, with almost 165 billion shipments in the United States alone. The last mile of the delivery process, when the box is transferred from a fulfilment centre to a home address, accounts for a significant amount of the carbon footprint, contributing to vehicular pollution in residential areas. 

There are numerous strategies to lessen the environmental impact of shipping, including using recyclable packaging or minimizing the quantity of packaging used, as well as printing labels with thermal printers to conserve ink. There are eco-friendly programmes from big carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS that can offer paperless invoicing and other green. This is yet another method to enhance delivery. 

Greener Finance And Banking 

One of the most often overlooked methods for conducting more sustainable business, both online and offline, is to seek out greener and more environmentally conscious banks. If you run a business, you need a business bank account, and through your business bank account, you can actually exert a fair amount of influence. By paying close attention to how you structure the financial side of your business, including the banks you do business with and the kinds of credit cards you use, you can leverage these companies and institutions’ green practices for yourself. 

Cut Energy Waste 

Beyond shipping techniques and the kinds of products you offer, sustainability can also refer to entire business operations, such as how your offices and warehouses are handled. Simple modifications like shutting off equipment when it is idle, investing in low-energy lighting, and lowering the office temperature can drastically reduce energy expenditures. 

The first step in minimizing energy waste in your company's infrastructure is to perform an energy audit to determine where you are able to save money. Then you can start making adjustments depending on what you determine to be the simplest changes with the greatest overall impact. 

Recycle Your Electronics 

If you run an online business, your primary capital equipment is likely your computer (or computers) in addition to some other electronics. This equipment receives heavy use and has to be replaced rather frequently--compared to, say, someone who only had a computer for casual use. The world has a glaring and troubling e-waste problem, to which online businesses undoubtedly contribute their fair share. 

If you want to ensure that you are minimizing the impact your consumption habits and business necessities have on the planet as an avid user of electronics and tech, go out of your way to recycle these items properly. There are usually e-waste recycling depots in most big cities around the world, and some places will allow you to ship old electronics to them if you don’t live close to one. 


As an online business, you are most likely operating solely in cyberspace. You already, in theory, have a lower carbon footprint than a brick and mortar business because you do not have commercial office space to heat and cool, you can work from the comfort of your home--so there is no carbon-intensive daily commute--and, depending on the nature of your business, you may not have much to ship or send to customers. 

With that said, by taking the above suggestions into consideration, you can still improve your sustainable business practices for relatively cheap and feel even better about doing business online.

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