A deep dive into sustainability with AWIE Australia
These insights are from women working for sustainable eCommerce companies and will help you learn strategies and be inspired.
Sustainability is not just a buzzword. It’s something that brands must embrace if they want new customers to keep returning. Yotpo’s Survey on Brand Loyalty 2022 found that 84% of consumers would be more loyal to brands that share their values. This number is even higher for Gen Z shoppers at over 90%.
On LinkedIn Live, we held an #AskMeAnything session. We had amazing conversations with women from sustainable eCommerce brands in Australia about how to communicate your brand values and make your business more sustainable. We had Hannah Udina from Shopify Plus as our guests. Julie Mathers, Founder Flora & Fauna and Priscilla Haajiantoni, Founder Bangn Body as our speakers.
These are just a few of their insights.
Brands must think more about sustainability
Are you clear about the use of sustainable and biodegradable packaging? Are you ensuring that each delivery is carbon-neutral or that you use a carrier that’s carbon neutral? Are you ensuring that your carbon emissions are offset? If you are not, let it be known. It’s important to align your values with that product. Sometimes it’s more than just the product. – Hannah Udina
Flora & Fauna is a proud B Corp since 2004. This certification covers everything about your business. It includes who you bank with, what your supply chain looks like, and how much your employees are paid. When we think of a sustainable and ethical business, it should go beyond marketing campaigns. It must get deep into the business’ core. Julie Mathers
It is a long process that we are currently going through. But, the good news about B Corp is that it allows you to become more aware of the process and improve your skills as you go through the application. You can feel like you’re doing an amazing initiative but if you actually take it here, it will give you a better score in B Corp. It makes you a better brand. – Priscilla Hajiantoni
It matters who your brand partners with
Bangn Body believes in collaboration and partnership. We also believe in uplifting like-minded businesses, owners and customers. We make sure that all brands we work with share the same or similar values. It is important to tell a story about who you are and what you stand for. – Priscilla Hajiantoni
Consumers still have to consider affordability.
People want to shop mindfully, but also want affordable products. Flora & Fauna was my first brand. I used a simple bamboo toothbrush as an example. I explained that the best way to drive change is to have both a bamboo toothbrush AND a plastic toothbrush. They can be sold in the same place. They are both the same price. The only thing you should consider is which one is more sustainable than the price. Unfortunately, we live in a highly price-driven world. Julie Mathers
Employ employees who are committed to your brand values
When I interview someone, the first thing I ask is what are your values. Because aligned values will lead to alignment on purpose. Everything else will flow from this. Julie Mathers
When hiring, we have a very strict process. My view is that skill is secondary. You can train skills, but you cannot train culture, intent, or the value of being human. It is crucial that you don’t disrupt the culture you’re building. This is something you build starting with your first hire. It’s important to keep this in mind when you hire people to help you build your brand. – Priscilla Hajiantoni
Companies in eCommerce technology are also embracing sustainability.
Shopify’s Sustainability Fund was created to generate demand for carbon renewal. It also allows new companies to demonstrate their scale in innovative technologies. Third, it spends millions of dollars per year on carbon reduction. This is really important to drive down future carbon prices and ensure that carbon removal is affordable for more companies. The fund has so far invested in 20 companies with innovative carbon removal technology. These technologies are worth looking into.
The really cool thing is that the Sustainability Fund has merged into the Frontier initiative. You may have also seen press about it. Frontier is essentially a joint market commitment between Shopify and Stripe, Alphabet Meta, McKinsey, and Stripe.
To make it even simpler, Shop Pay can be enabled in your store to help plant trees. It is really important for people to know there is at least some form of carbon offset. Even if it is just Shop Pay payments. – Hannah Udina
Five sustainable brands that will inspire you
- The Booty Hut – I just discovered Booty underwear and bras. They are so comfortable and all-purpose. They make it accessible to everyone, which I love. Priscilla Hajiantoni
- Ethique – I am a huge fan of conditioner and shampoo bars. Since I tried them three to four years ago, I’ve been a fan. Ethique shampoo bars, Heali Kiwi, brilliant. These shampoo bars are amazing. Julie Mathers
- Frank green: They are amazing. They make the best water bottles. We have partnered with them on an amazing, reusable, canistered cup. My Frank Green water bottle is my best friend. It is the best. – Priscilla Hajiantoni
- Allbirds – I love Allbirds. They are good at almost everything. They are good at almost everything. It also shows that you can have a responsible, ethical business while being highly investable. That’s how we can actually shift the tide of change. Julie Mathers
- The North Face – The North Face offers a program called Clothes The Loop. This is basically a collection of customers’ old clothes and gives $10 off for every $100 spent. These clothes are then repurposed to make insulation or carpet padding. It’s almost like you’re doing something that’s highlighting your impact or creating impact. It goes beyond putting a logo onto something. These types of initiatives, in terms of how brands are being creative with how they promote sustainability, is something I recommend you look out for. – Hannah Udina