Etsy follows Amazon with its own effort for a greener business

The convenient click-to-buy culture that delivers everything to our doorstep looks set to stay, but with 55,000 metric tons of shipping-related CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each and every day via online orders in the U.S. alone, it’s the entire planet that suffers.

Responding to the environmental impact of its own business, online crafts marketplace Etsy is making efforts to do something about it.

The New York-based company has announced that from this week it’s taking steps to offset 100 percent of its carbon emissions generated by shipping, making it the first global ecommerce company to take such action.

It means that every time a customer buys an item on its site from one of its two million sellers, Etsy will automatically purchase verified emissions reductions — more commonly known as “offsets” — in a bid to return some goodness to the environment. There’s been much debate about the effectiveness of carbon offsets, but Etsy believes this program and other efforts will have a positive effect.

“These purchases support environmental projects, including protecting forests that improve air quality and absorb carbon, sponsoring wind and solar farms that generate clean energy and replace fossil fuels, and developing greener methods for producing auto parts,” the company said in a post announcing the initiative.

The green effort is a collaboration with clean energy consultancy 3Degrees, and neither buyers nor sellers will have to pay anything extra. Instead, Etsy will cover the costs, which it says amount to less than one penny per package.

Etsy’s initiative isn’t its first attempt at being kinder to the environment. The company is already working toward powering all of its operations with 100-percent renewable electricity by 2020, with the development of a new solar farm and installation of solar panels at its offices placing it on track to meet that goal. It also achieved its ambition of running net-zero waste operations globally in 2018, two years ahead of schedule.

“With shipping projected to play an increasing role in global emissions, there is a pressing need for both the public and private sectors to play a role in addressing this societal issue,” the company said, adding that it intends to look for additional opportunities to reduce its impact on the environment.

News of Etsy’s initiative comes just a week after online shopping giant Amazon revealed it’s aiming to make 50 percent of its shipments to customers carbon-free by 2030. It said that with improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio-fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy, the move will help it toward its ultimate goal of net-zero carbon shipments to customers.


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