Featured image for blog post: "SUSTAINABLE E-COMMERCE - Shop Sustainably" by State of Matter, showing a laptop on a desk with the State of Matter website open, advertising sustainable menswear, beside a potted cactus.

Everything You Need to Know About Sustainable E-commerce

As environmental worries intensify, shopping sustainably should no longer be considered a mere luxury - it is an absolute must. In today's world, e-commerce is often the most responsible way to shop. However, what does this entail?

How do we make sure we're shopping sustainably online? This guide will provide an overview of sustainable e-commerce businesses and steps you can take to ensure your online shopping is helping reduce our impact on our planet. 

What Is Sustainable E-commerce? 

According to a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, circular economy principles can be applied to create a more sustainable e-commerce model by designing out waste, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.

A sustainable e-commerce business uses digital technology and green practices that minimize environmental impact. This includes everything from reducing waste and pollution in production to improving energy efficiency in warehouses and offices.

Internet retailing can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions due to the energy used in shipping goods worldwide. When shopping online, it is essential to consider the environmental impacts of our decisions. By supporting sustainable brands and products, we can reduce our ecological footprint while keeping up with modern trends.

What Consumers Pay Attention to While Shopping Online

When it comes to sustainable e-commerce, there are a few consumer expectations:


Consumers want to know where their products come from and how they are produced. Companies that provide this information will stand out as more trustworthy and reliable.

Sustainable Practices:

Customers prefer companies committed to a sustainable business model. They can provide evidence of this commitment through certifications or other recognizable standards.

Responsible Shipping:

Consumers want to know that their purchases are shipped responsibly, using climate-neutral shipping solutions whenever possible.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Customers appreciate companies that use eco-friendly packaging materials such as recyclable or biodegradable materials.


A 2020 survey by IBM found that 77% of consumers consider sustainability important, and 57% are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact.

Consumers want to feel like they are part of the process and that companies value their opinions and feedback.

By paying attention to these key areas, consumers can make sure they are making responsible purchasing decisions that benefit both themselves and the planet. Utilizing sustainable e-commerce practices is a win-win for everyone involved.

Why Shop Sustainably? 

Shopping sustainably means making conscious choices about how we consume. This includes considering what products we purchase and how they are produced and delivered.


The goal is to reduce waste as much as possible while meeting our needs. It's important to remember that sustainability isn't just about protecting our environmental footprint — it's also about creating a better future for ourselves and future generations. 


Building a sustainable business online

Sustainable practices can lead to more efficient, cost-effective operations and better customer experiences. These factors can help create a virtuous cycle of sustainability that benefits everyone involved in the process — from producers to customers. 

13 Ways You Can Start Moving Towards Sustainable E-commerce

  1. Utilize eco-friendly packaging such as biodegradable or recycled materials.
  2. Choose shipping and logistics companies that use renewable energy sources.
  3. Partner with eco-friendly suppliers and vendors that use sustainable practices in their production processes.
  4. Utilize green energy sources to power your business.
  5. Become an accredited member of an eco-certification program to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
  6. Invest in innovative technology that can reduce the need for physical goods over time, such as 3D printing and virtual reality solutions.
  7. Recycle or donate any excess materials or products that you no longer need.
  8. Utilize carbon offsets whenever possible to reduce your emissions footprint.
  9. Find ways to extend the life of your products by offering repair services.
  10. Invest in sustainable shipping methods such as reusing boxes or using biodegradable packaging materials.
  11. Educate your employees about sustainable practices and make sure they understand the importance of reducing waste.
  12. Donate profits to environmental charities and organizations working to protect our planet.
  13. Make sure you comply with all relevant regulations, such as data protection and privacy. 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your e-commerce business operates more sustainably. Doing so can help reduce our impact on the planet while also helping you to build better relationships with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. 


The Benefits of Sustainable E-commerce 

According to Nielsen, products from sustainable brands grow more than twice as fast as those that aren't, and more than 60% of customers are willing to pay a premium for such products.

E-commerce has made it easier for us to shop sustainably by reducing the need for physical stores or wasteful packaging materials. Thanks to more companies adopting eco-friendly practices, we have plenty of ways to shop ethically right from the comfort of our own homes.

Shopping sustainably also allows us to support businesses that prioritize responsible production methods and fair wages for their workers. By choosing sustainable brands, we can help create an economy based on social justice and environmental stewardship instead of profit at any cost. 


How State of Matter is Committed to Sustainability

State of Matter is committed to sustainability by using ethically sourced materials, offering a 360 Afterlife program, and partnering with eco-friendly suppliers.

These initiatives are just a few ways that State of Matter is working towards creating sustainable e-commerce practices. By doing so, we hope to create a positive ripple effect in the industry and help lead the way toward a more sustainable future. 

We are dedicated to making a difference and reducing environmental impact through conscious business practices, ethical manufacturing processes, and sustainability initiatives. By taking these steps, we can help create a better world for everyone - now and in the future.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What does sustainability mean in e-commerce?

Sustainability in e-commerce refers to adopting eco-friendly practices in online business operations. This includes using renewable energy, biodegradable packaging, and optimizing supply chains to reduce carbon footprint.

What are the benefits of sustainable e-commerce?

Benefits of sustainable e-commerce include increased customer loyalty, reduced environmental impact, cost savings from efficient resource use, and enhanced brand reputation by aligning with consumer values.

How does e-commerce affect the environment?

E-commerce affects the environment through carbon emissions from transportation, excessive packaging waste, and increased energy consumption in warehousing and data centers.

Why is sustainability good for business?

Sustainability is good for business as it attracts eco-conscious customers, improves brand image, and can lead to cost savings through efficient resource use. It also positions a business for long-term success in a market increasingly focused on environmental responsibility.

How do you plan a sustainability strategy for e-commerce returns?

A sustainability strategy for e-commerce returns involves minimizing returns through accurate product descriptions, implementing a restocking system for returned items, and using eco-friendly packaging and shipping methods.