Green beauty is big business. A recent report by Grand View Research predicts that the organic personal care market is expected to reach 25.1 billion US dollars by 2025. That’s 9.5% compound annual growth rate over the forecasted period.
I am a huge fan and supporter of green beauty, but as a logistics professional I do wonder exactly how green brands really are. The main focus of being “green” seems to be around ingredients. When it comes to packaging and delivery I believe as an industry we have some serious work to do.
Importantly, our customers are starting to increasingly question our green credentials. 74% of shoppers “were worried—or said it was a big concern for them—about the impact their online shopping deliveries had on the environment (MetaPack 2017 State of eCommerce Delivery Consumer Research Report). This growing concern is particularly evident in the 18-38 age range, one that covers a majority of beauty consumers. (Age 18-26 36% expressed concern. 27-38 35% expressed concern.)
The rise of the conscientious shopper who is ethically motivated and environmentally aware means brands need to take a long hard look at exactly how green they are. Consumers are looking to engage and buy from companies who are transparent, honest, and open about all aspects of their business.
So, boosting your green credentials is not only the right thing to do, it can also result in increased customers and profits.
What exactly is “green logistics”?
Put simply, and avoiding the “dull” label logistics is frequently tagged with, it means any and all attempts to measure and minimize the ecological impact of your logistics activities. That’s everything from procurement, packaging, inventory management, and warehousing, to fulfillment, distribution, reverse logistics, and disposal logistics.
What can you do to boost your green creds?
Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can green up your logistics.
1. Avoid same-day deliveries – There is a lot of buzz about same-day deliveries particularly in large cities like London and New York. Now, they can add some serious wow factor to your customer journey, but they are the least-green delivery option out there. Every time a same-day delivery is requested, additional vehicles are sent out on our roads in some of the already most congested and polluted environments on our planet. Having said to avoid them, note that there is a growing number of green same-day delivery companies that use electric vehicles or bikes to make their deliveries.
2. Use your national postal service – Your national postal service has vehicles out visiting most houses and businesses every day, and so from a green perspective it makes sense to utilize this already-existing network. Most postal services are improving their delivery solutions and options and trying to become far more customer centric. They are also making huge commitments to becoming greener themselves. For example: UK Royal Mail reduced their carbon emissions by 4.7% in 2016–17 and acquired 2,859 new vehicles, including 713 trucks and 2,146 smaller vans, which comply with the Euro 6 standard on commercial vehicle emissions, just two of a whole stack of policies and innovations they are implementing. Check out the website of your national provider to see what they are doing.
3. Audit your delivery partners – I understand that national postal services sometimes don’t provide the level of service your customers expect and need. There are times when timed and guaranteed deliveries are necessary. When you are choosing which delivery partners to work, with audit their green credentials. Ask them to tell you what their environmental obligations and goals are. Do they use electric or low-emission vehicles? Do they train their staff to drive in more efficient ways to help reduce carbon emissions? Do your research and make informed choices to work with companies that reflect your brand’s environmental commitment.
4. Reduce your packaging and make sure any packaging you do use is recycled or recyclable – We live in an age when the unboxing experience has become a beauty phenomenon, and having worked in the industry for nearly 20 years I do understand the importance of the customer journey but, I truly believe that the tables will and should turn soon. Unboxing will become a beauty negative. It’s time for brands to combine wow factor and added sparkle with a commitment to the environment. As an industry we have a responsibility to push and lead this change.
5. Do all you can to limit returns – The growing ease of e-commerce reverse logistics (returns) has resulted in an increased volume of return deliveries. I am not suggesting that we don’t offer to take returns—that’s not good for business. I’m encouraging you to put some serious energy into limiting returns. There are many tech advances like live chat that mean we can interact with customers on our website, advising them and guiding them to buy the right product the first time. On a more basic and less-expensive level, detailed product descriptions, explainer videos, and testimonials all help with first-time customer satisfaction.
I have provided a small selection of ways you can address the environmental impact of your logistics and become a truly green brand. All research indicates that green logistics will thankfully grow in importance, so expect to see more research published and more delivery innovation in the near future.
As an industry that leads the way in the green arena and that’s packed with courageous ethical founders, we are in the perfect position to influence change. Here’s to a greener, brighter future for beauty and beyond!
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