We’re often asked why we don’t participate in e-commerce, and here’s why: e-commerce is not sustainable.
Sustainability is a complex concept that involves not only the materials and production processes, but also factors like transportation, usage, and disposal.
Some of these key environmental costs include:
1. Packaging Waste: Excessive packaging materials like plastic, cardboard, and bubble wrap contributes to increased waste.
2. Transportation Emissions: The shipping of products to customers generates greenhouse gas emissions, especially if multiple deliveries are made for a single order.
3. Energy Usage: Data centers, which power online platforms, and large warehouses consume substantial amounts of energy.
4. Resource Consumption: The production of electronic devices, packaging materials, and goods sold online requires the use of natural resources.
5. Land Use and Habitat Disruption: Warehouses and distribution centers lead to land use changes and habitat disruption.
6. E-waste: The disposal of electronic devices and gadgets associated with e-commerce contributes to electronic waste problems.
7. Return Shipments: High return rates in e-commerce leads to additional transportation and waste.
So, while delivering sustainable products might reduce the unsustainability of e-commerce, e-commerce remains unsustainable.
In fact, not only does delivering sustainable products not address the entire lifecycle of the products and their broader environmental and social impacts, it often further obscures them.
The bottom line for us, then, is simply that true sustainability will only be achieved by reducing long-range delivery of goods as much as possible, facilitating local self-sufficiency by relying more on nearby goods and services, and insisting on adherance to global fair-trade practices.
Because this planet means the world to us.