E-Commerce Site Etsy to Offset All Shipping Emissions

The e-commerce website Etsy has a clean, green vision to support the planet.

With the popularity of online shopping soaring through the Covid-19 quarantine, this e-commerce company has taken steps to ensure that their success doesn’t cost the earth – by offsetting their emissions. 

In a blog post, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman claimed: “In the US alone, every day approximately 55,000 metric tons of CO2e are emitted into the atmosphere by delivering packages from online orders*.”

Etsy’s unique products

Launched in Brooklyn, USA, in 2005, Etsy is an e-commerce website, which offers sellers a platform to sell their vintage or handmade goods across the world. Unlike eBay, items cannot be resold and must be unique or sold over 20 years ago. Sellers simply set up an account and list their inventory for customers to browse. 

Alongside homemade jumpers, vintage earrings and the suddenly popular face masks, some of the wildest items on Etsy include a Ouija Board lunch box, an Xbox 360 controller replica soap and pillows, pots and cake toppers in a variety of unmentionable styles. 

Essentially, Etsy is a place for artists and collectors to sell what mainstream sellers may not want to commit to, or see as too risky to include in their brand.

However, Etsy has a broad list of items which cannot be sold on the site, including items which “Support Hatred” or “Promote Illegal Activity”. 

Yet at a detriment to the planet, the items which are moving from seller to buyer, are heightening the level of carbon emissions; each time a customer orders a product and it is sent to them, greenhouses gasses are spewed into the atmosphere to deliver the item. 

Etsy’s green vision

A planet torn apart by ice-cap floods and bushfires caused by climate change, won’t be able to enjoy novelty soaps. So, Etsy has started an initiative to offset the emissions caused by shipping the products they transport, by supporting these initiatives:

1. UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

The forestry project manages 187,876 acres of native woodland across Minnesota, USA. Whilst supplying timber to a local paper mill, it supports the unique diversity of local communities and ensures that their practices are in sync with environmental regimes. 

2. Giriraj Wind Power Project

On the north-western coast of India, The Bundled Wind Power Project comprises of 64 wind turbines, with a reach of 112.5 MW generated for the state grid.

3. Meridian Magnesium SF6 Reduction in the Automotive Sector

Meridian Magnesium Products aims to reduce 300,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, by changing the way they manufacture some of their products, such as alloys. By using magnesium instead of steel, the alloys are lighter and thus run more efficiently.

What’s next for Etsy and the world

While Etsy’s profits might take a hit at first, it is likely that as individuals around the world looks for ways to cut down their own carbon footprints, Etsy’s practices will draw in new custom. 

Etsy joins other companies, such as World Expeditions and Monsanto, who are introducing ways to lessen the impact of their business on the planet. 

Hopefully, this practice will become industry standard in the near future. 

For more information on the relationship between e-commerce and sustainability please see here.

*CO2e estimate based on size of the US ecommerce market per US Census Bureau data from statistica.com combined with Etsy’s internal data about emissions per shipment.

Helen Adams

Helen Adams is an Editor and Senior Writer for CleanTech News. A keen journalist, Helen developed an appreciation for the need for change in the battle against climate change after travelling and is passionate to communicate this through her work at CleanTech News. Now studying for her NCTJ Journalism MA, Helen wants to champion clean developments using her writing. Presently, Helen is developing her data journalism, video-making and podcasting skills which she is looking forward to incorporating into her role as Editor.