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Product, Service & Design Innovation
ShippingEasy Pilots Carbon-Neutral Shipping for Ecommerce Merchants During the Holiday Season

The Texas-based small-business shipper, in partnership with South Pole, will offset merchants’ shipping emissions by funding a renewable energy project in Oklahoma.

Just in time for this year’s holiday “shipageddon,” ShippingEasy — a cloud-based shipping, tracking and customer marketing platform for ecommerce sellers — has launched The Greenest Way to Ship. Developed in partnership with leading global climate solutions provider and carbon project developer South Pole, the initiative will see ShippingEasy cover the cost for merchants using its discounted shipping rates to offset the carbon emissions of packages shipped during the holidays.

Recent research found that 56 percent of consumers surveyed globally said that they would accept a longer delivery time to make their online deliveries more sustainable. With The Greenest Way to Ship, ShippingEasy merchants can promote the sustainability consumers want without sacrificing delivery speed.

“Our goal is to help merchants successfully start and run their ecommerce businesses,” said Chris Vaughn, General Manager of ShippingEasy. “I’m very proud to share that now we can also help them go carbon neutral during their busiest season.”

Carbon offsetting has quickly become a central component of many companies’ carbon-reduction strategies; but many small businesses don’t have the capacity for it. And while the rapidly growing voluntary carbon market must still address some fundamental flaws in order to become a reliable and effective climate solution, carbon offsets can benefit both people and the environment if employed correctly. So, ShippingEasy is aiming to help smaller businesses start making a dent in their footprint by providing easy access to carbon-neutral shipping during the busiest and most impactful time of the year: For each shipment placed through The Greenest Way to Ship, ShippingEasy will calculate its carbon impact based on the distance the shipment will travel and its mode of transportation. Then, the company will purchase a corresponding carbon offset from The Dempsey Ridge Project — a zero emissions, grid-connected, wind energy source in Oklahoma.

Our instant-gratification shopping culture is taking an increasing toll on the environment. In April, Sendle — a 100 percent carbon-neutral shipping service for small businesses in the US and Australia that has offset 19.5 billion miles of carbon to date, also a South Pole partner — created an art installation in Seattle aimed at reminding consumers of the environmental costs of our addiction to online retail and shipping. As co-founder James Chin Moody explained in 2021: “Every product sold online and shipped to a customer represents a vast web of carbon-emitting activity. It’s so important that right now, our industry comes together to acknowledge our growing footprint and that we work together on long-term solutions. With the way things are going, failing to grow sustainably carries too many risks for a business’ operations, its bottom line and the planet.”

Add to the ‘vast web of carbon-emitting activity’ the rampant product waste generated through the mail-order return process (5.8 billion pounds of retail returns and excess inventory end up in US landfills each year), and the true cost of our ecommerce addiction would likely suck the holiday spirit out of many an online shopper. But while giants such as Amazon work to implement new systems that could put a significant dent in product waste, smaller players such as ShippingEasy and Sendle are working to do their part on the emissions front.

The Greenest Way to Ship is now available in the ShippingEasy app; and the pilot will run through the duration of peak holiday season (through January 12, 2023) — though the company says it aims to make the service a permanent feature.

"Because this is our first implementation of the feature, we're focusing on peak season specifically; so, we can make the largest impact during our merchants' shortest, busiest window," Vaughn told Sustainable Brands®. "If merchants show continued interest and excitement about the tool, we would love to make this feature available long term with South Pole. Next steps will be evaluated at the end of the pilot."

Merchants that are already accessing ShippingEasy's discounted rates don’t need to take any action to enroll in The Greenest Way to Ship, and new users can join at any time. Merchants leveraging The Greenest Way to Ship also get access to badges, logos and social assets to promote their sustainability efforts to customers.