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Shopify says retailers and consumers are accelerating climate-conscious shopping

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Online shopping Credits: Pexels, Nataliya Vaitkevich

Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify is increasing its efforts to combat climate change, emphasising the symbiotic relationship between commerce and environmental sustainability. As a corporate investors in long-term carbon removal initiatives, the Ottawa-based company says it has allocated over 32 million dollars to support 22 innovative, technology-driven ventures through its Sustainability Fund. Notable recipients include Running Tide, Remora, and Climeworks.

Central to Shopify's environmental commitment is the Planet app, a tool aimed at facilitating carbon-neutral shipping for all orders while also backing technologies actively involved in carbon removal from the atmosphere. Additionally, Shopify is a founding member of Frontier, a groundbreaking initiative with a 925 million dolars commitment to accelerate carbon removal efforts over the next nine years.

Growing initiatives to reduce carbon output

Recent research findings from a Shopify survey spanning 12 countries, involving more than 24,000 shoppers and 9,000 small to medium-sized businesses reveal a growing inclination towards sustainability practices, such as carbon-neutral shipping and waste reduction initiatives, despite tightening budgets. Notably, demographic and regional disparities exist, with mainland Europe demonstrating a particularly strong inclination towards climate-conscious shopping, contrasting with slightly lower figures in the Netherlands.

Climate-conscious shopping

Consumers are taking proactive steps towards climate-conscious shopping, driving significant changes in purchasing behaviors and preferences. While younger generations exhibit greater enthusiasm for sustainability, translating sentiment into action remains a challenge. Nevertheless, the survey highlights a growing consumer demand for planet-positive options, indicating a shifting landscape in retail.

Cost barriers

For businesses, especially smaller enterprises, cost is less of a barrier to adopting sustainable practices compared to larger counterparts. Smaller organizations are encouraged to leverage their agility to integrate sustainability into their operations from the outset, rather than waiting for scalability, which could result in higher transition costs.

Since its launch in June 2022, Shopify's Planet app has made substantial strides in neutralizing shipping emissions, accounting for over six million orders and removing more than 5,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. With climate consciousness becoming increasingly prevalent, consumers are willing to make sacrifices and pay more to support sustainable shopping practices. Retailers stand to benefit from offering planet-friendly products, as consumer recommendations for sustainable items are significantly higher, particularly among younger demographics.

Given the growing importance of organic consumer outreach, sustainability should be a focal point in retailers' marketing strategies, Shopify said in its research report. Nearly half of global retailers emphasise the importance of reaching consumers organically, underlining the pivotal role of sustainability in shaping consumer preferences and brand loyalty.

Sustainable Fashion