Retailers share ways to make shipping more sustainable 

Sustainability is part of Coalatree’s mission.   

The performance apparel brand works to make its clothing in a sustainable way, such as designing products with sustainable materials like recycled water bottles and manufacturing its garments in factories that adhere to its standards, such as using a waterless dye method.   

So when it comes to getting that product in a shopper’s hand, Coalatree prioritizes shipping it in a sustainable way, says John Michael Fabrizi, president and chief operating officer for the apparel brand.   

“It doesn’t make sense for us to make products out of sustainable inputs and then on the flip side, ship things out in the least sustainable way possible,” Fabrizi says.   

Coalatree ships its products in a compostable mailer, and the plastic polybags that encase each item are made from recycled plastic.   

Fabrizi estimates that this packaging costs the brand about 25% more than what it would cost to use traditional shipping materials.   

“We’re a pretty mission-driven brand, and that’s key to what we are doing, which is why these costs need to be factored into the business from the get-go. That’s why people buy our products,” Fabrizi says. 

And therein lies the burden for all brands when it comes to sustainability — the cost. For brands with an eco-mission, including Coalatree, cleaning products brand Cleancult, household products brand Grove Collaborative and apparel brand Toad & Co., the extra cost of environmentally friendly shipping is worth it to them and, they believe, to their customers. And they’re constantly testing new packaging options coming to market as they seek to improve their offerings and minimize the cost of backing up their commitments to environmental responsibility.  

Shoppers care about sustainable materials, but it costs retailers  

The push to find eco-friendly ways to deliver online orders is a response to the concerns of many shoppers. 56.8% of consumers say sustainable packaging and shipping is important (33.8%) or very important (23%) when purchasing online, according to a March 2023 survey of 500 consumers by logistics software vendor Sifted. 

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