How Sustainable Commerce is Good for Your Startup – Brian Wallace

Climate change is one of the most salient political issues of this generation. However, it’s impact is not confined to the political arena. Businesses of all sizes and industries rely on a sustainable future to ensure the life of their company. Products take natural resources to produce, and consumers need disposable income to buy goods from businesses. Both of these situations have the potential to be disrupted by the extreme forces of climate change. As such, businesses need to view investments in sustainability initiatives as they would any other investment in their future. The time has come for sustainable commerce.

Online shopping platform eBay has already taken up this mantle. They are using their platform to advance the cause of select United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short). eBay concentrates on the 6 goals that it does because they reflect material issues and enable their business to grow responsibly. The smart companies want to be profitable for as long as possible, and securing the future of the planet is one more way to make that dream a reality. Beyond strictly climate-based initiatives, eBay has also taken it upon themselves to promote gender equality and decent work, SDG #5 and #8 respectively. 

Building a Sustainable Future

In building a greener company, eBay realized that many of its current operations are already encouraging a sustainable future. For example, SDG #12 revolves around responsible consumption and production. eBay’s main business is the resale of used goods in an online marketplace. Thanks to eBay, products can continuously find renewed life and value. When a consumer buys pre-owned goods instead of new, they keep one more item out of the landfill and decrease strain on natural resources used to make new goods. Sales of pre-owned electronics and apparel on eBay conserves 720,000 metric tons of carbon emissions in 2020 alone. That’s more than the yearly carbon footprint of Puerto Rico, a territory of over 3 million people.

eBay isn’t only sticking to its strengths in encouraging a greener future. It is doing so in accordance with SDG #7. This advocates for the proliferation of affordable clean energy. They have set the goal of using only renewable energy in their operations by 2025. As of 2020, eBay’s data centers and offices were powered by 74% renewables. eBay partners with other businesses and organizations to enable renewable energy purchases. Recently, eBay and McDonalds both agreed to purchase power from the largest solar project in Louisiana. By persuading other companies to use renewable energy in addition to doing so themselves, eBay is accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy. 

In Conclusion

Saving the planet and growing one’s business don’t have to be at odds with one another. Companies can identify the best ways to integrate their current operations with sustainable best practices. Most transitions are less costly than initially believed. The cost associated with an uninhabitable planet is far higher than anyone is willing to pay.

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