EDF Report Pushes E-Commerce to Address Environmental Risk to Boost Bottom Line

EDF Report Cover
CSB Director Tensie Whelan writes the foreword in a recent Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) report stating that e-commerce retailers can use their influence to benefit the environment and their bottom lines. Retailers must adapt to sustainable practices to keep customers engaged, lower their carbon footprint, and increase their financial gain as the global pandemic pushes more retailers to e-commerce, Whelan says. 

EDF outlines three major risks e-commerce retailers must consider: customers, investors, and employees are demanding bold leadership from companies to take action on climate change; sixty-two percent of chemicals in consumer products are hazardous to humans and the environment, yet today’s shoppers have no guarantee that the products they are buying on e-commerce platforms are free of toxic chemicals; millennial and Gen Zers want to buy from brands and companies that are transparent and committed to making a positive social impact. 

The report advises e-commerce retailers to follow seven steps to strike a competitive edge in the marketplace: assess chemical and carbon footprints, set ambitious goals, align business operations to sustainability goals, engage product suppliers, help consumers make sustainable choices, measure and share progress publicly, and lead the industry forward on sustainability.

Excerpt from Whelan's foreword: "As this report suggests, companies have a tremendous opportunity to win over the eco and socially conscious customer base as well as mainstream consumers concerned about the state of the world. E-commerce retailers can help shoppers make sustainable choices by using their online marketplace to provide deeper education about the environmental and health impacts of everyday products."