Canadian Manufacturing

3 reasons why you should switch to sustainable shipping methods

Sustainable shipping methods allow manufacturers to reduce waste — and, in some cases, build better relationships with customers and employees.

April 29, 2022   by Emily Newton, Editor-in-Chief, Revolutionized

Shipping is an essential part of any manufacturing business

Shipping is an essential part of any large manufacturing business, but managing shipping effectively can be a challenge.

Sustainable shipping methods allow manufacturers to reduce waste — and, in some cases, build better relationships with  customers and employees.

These are 3 reasons why manufacturers should switch to more sustainable shipping methods.

1. Shipping Sustainably Can Help Reduce Waste

In general, sustainable shipping initiatives will cut down on waste associated with business logistics. They may offer customers recycled packaging options, offset the carbon cost of shipping or encourage customers to take advantage of circular return programs that prevent reusable shipping materials from going to landfill.

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Some of these initiatives — like circular economy programs — can both reduce waste and make certain aspects of shipping, like reverse logistics, easier to manage. For example, more robust returns programs, combined with best practices for managing reverse logistics during peak season, can help businesses reduce waste and make their logistics more efficient.

Many sustainable shipping changes can also make a business seem more modern and forward-thinking. Recycled packaging is one of the top packaging industry trends in 2022, along with packaging strategies like flexible packaging and “clean” labels for food products. Adopting recycled packaging or similar packaging options can help brands appear trendy.

In some cases, it may be possible to reduce waste without significant changes to shipping practices. For example, manufacturers can encourage clients to order items in bulk — reducing the amount of packaging they need to use — or work with wholesalers to achieve a similar result.

Less waste from shipping will make the company both more eco-friendly and more efficient, potentially driving down some of the costs associated with shipping goods and handling returns.

2. Customers Prefer Sustainable Brands

Over the past few years, consumers have become much more eco-conscious. A number of market surveys have shown that there is a growing segment of consumers that prioritize shopping with sustainable brands.

These surveys have found that younger customers, in particular, want to shop with brands that take the environment seriously. Market research suggests that they’re often willing to pay a premium to shop with brands that appear to be sustainable or environmentally responsible.

One recent study found that even customers who are mostly indifferent to the environment still want sustainable shipping options and are more likely to shop with brands that offer sustainable shipping.

Sustainable packaging and carbon-offset shipping are two highly visible ways to signal to customers that your brand is prioritizing sustainability. These initiatives will encourage eco-minded customers to shop with your brand, and may even boost your company’s reputation among consumers who don’t care one way or another when it comes to sustainability.

3. Sustainable Shipping Can Boost Worker Morale

In the same way that sustainable practices can make consumers feel good about shopping with a brand, sustainability can also make workers more satisfied about working for a company.

Workplace research has found that sustainable programs — including sustainable shipping initiatives — can boost worker morale.

Workers who feel good about their employer or workplace are often more productive, more engaged and less likely to look for another job. Lower turnover and greater productivity can help businesses increase revenue and decrease operating costs.

How Sustainable Shipping Benefits a Manufacturer

In addition to reducing waste, sustainable shipping practices can also help manufacturers overhaul their logistics operations and improve their brand image.

A better brand image can have wide-ranging effects, including more client loyalty and greater workplace morale.

While sustainability can be its own reward, companies that adopt sustainable shipping practices often find these other benefits to reducing logistical waste.