In an era marked by environmental challenges and the pressing need for a regenerative economy, marketplaces and platforms find themselves in a pivotal position to drive positive change. These digital hubs possess the power to champion regenerative sustainability and connect consumers with truly sustainable products and services.
Marketplaces like Amazon and Lazada wield immense influence and have the potential to make a significant positive impact on the environment and nature conservation. Their unique position at the intersection of thousands of businesses and millions of customers positions them as potential ambassadors and advocates for positive impact.
Marketplaces and Legacy Sustainability
Today some marketplaces have taken the first steps to regeneration. Nevertheless, they remain in the framework of legacy sustainability (reduce, reuse, recycle). We’ve seen some of the following:
- Supply Chain Sustainability: Setting stringent environmental standards for the products sold on their platforms, encouraging suppliers to adopt eco-friendly practices. This can include sourcing products from companies that adhere to sustainable forestry, responsible mining, and ethical farming practices.
- Product Certification: Marketplaces have introduced certification programs that highlight environmentally friendly and responsibly sourced products. This helps customers make informed choices and encourages sellers to adopt conscious manufacturing and sourcing practices. For instance, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly program is a step in this direction.
- Carbon Neutrality: Some platforms have invested in renewable energy to offset their emissions, and reduce the carbon footprint of their operations.
- Education and Awareness: Use their reach to educate both sellers and customers about environmental issues. This could include providing information on sustainable living, promoting sustainable products, and explaining the impact of consumer choices on the environment, and more.
- Green Packaging: Encouraging sellers to use eco-friendly packaging materials and practices can significantly reduce waste and the environmental impact of shipping. Amazon’s “Frustration-Free Packaging” initiative is a step towards this goal.
Regenerative Sustainability: The Key Driver of Competitive Advantage
Governments and transnational regulators are imposing more stringent reporting requirements, in the hope that reporting will lead to reduction.
While this hope may be idle, the reality is that regulatory requirements are increasingly turning sustainability into a compliance framework. While this may be good for the planet, it also implies that sustainability itself loses its potential as a competitive differentiator.
To stand out in the market, to attract and retain new customers, and to motivate people to work for you, simply doing what regulators are mandating is not enough.
How can Marketplaces embark their journey towards the regenerative economy?
- Embrace Regenerative Sustainability:
Move away from the reduction mindset and use existing business processes and KPIs to embed positive impact. What about planting a tree with every checkout, or educating a child with every parcel delivered? By providing customers with the means to positively impact the planet, you can resonate with conscious shoppers and foster trust.
- Transparency is Key:
Doing good is not enough. Annual corporate sustainability reports are not enough. You’ll need frequent updates of your positive impact to showcase to your stakeholders. Now you can access Handprint’’s enhanced impact reporting tools to showcase how every action in your platform contributes to regeneration.
- Harness User-Level Assets:
Your stakeholders will require data, information, and content around your impact. You could leverage assets like pictures and videos, data visualizations, and stories, to craft tailored experiences for your customers, strengthening their connection with your marketplace. Also, it might be worth considering innovative features like a sustainability dashboard, enabling customers to track their personal impact over time or exclusive discounts on products and services aligned with regenerative sustainability targets.
Making Regenerative Sustainability Your Competitive Advantage
- Increased Traffic: Research indicates that consumers are more inclined to support marketplaces and platforms committed to sustainability. Leveraging Handprint can attract a larger audience of eco-conscious customers to your platform.
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: A marketplace that empowers customers to make a positive impact on the environment naturally leads to higher customer satisfaction. Handprint Tech can help create a more sustainable and satisfying shopping experience.
- Elevated Brand Reputation: Regenerative brands lead and inspire stakeholders like customers, investors, and employees to be part of their mission. Regenerative brands activate the individual to join the brand in its journey towards regeneration.
As legacy sustainability is moving into compliance territory and governments globally increasingly mandate ESG reporting, a company’s ability to be recognized as a sustainability pioneer, simply by being better than the rest at being less bad, is evaporating.
Companies that want to lead by example and be recognised for making a real difference need to embrace regeneration and make it part of their daily business activities.
If you’re a marketplace or platform committed to embracing the regenerative economy, reach out to Handprint today to discover how to create a marketplace that suits the regenerative economy of today.