When Shopify launched the Shop mobile app in April, the e-commerce giant sought to do its part to make online shopping much easier during pandemic quarantines, while offering its smaller retail businesses wider exposure. Now, Shopify is extending the mission of the app to improving the company’s carbon footprint.
Shopify announced that 100 percent of the delivery emissions produced by every order using Shop Pay, the platform’s accelerated checkout option, will be automatically offset at no charge to Shop users or the brand.
With Shop, users can even track and visualize their individual carbon offset history and view their individual eco-footprint, as well as the overall impact of the Shop community.
Since the app’s beta launch, Shopify said it has protected the equivalent of 11 million trees in the Peruvian rainforest to offset more than 10,000 tons of carbon emissions, as of July 15.
“We’re proud to do our part to protect the environment and help consumers ‘shop better’ as they make more and more purchases online,” Carl Rivera, general manager of Shop, wrote in a company blog post. “By using Shop and checking out with Shop Pay, you can feel good about supporting the brands you love and reducing negative impacts to the environment.”
The introduction of a carbon-offsetting program has become a popular way to draw awareness to climate issues. In 2019, Allbirds introduced a “carbon tax” that offsets its emissions, launching the Allbirds Carbon Fund, which pours money into planet-pleasing initiatives such as planting trees, building solar and wind facilities and recapturing methane from landfill and livestock operations. Last month, the company launched an underwear line made from a blend of New Zealand-sourced merino wool and eucalyptus tree fiber, with a touch of Spandex for stretch.
The footwear retailer developed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool in April to measure end-to-end carbon emissions as part of its bid to label all its products with a carbon footprint. The plan is to get consumers thinking about carbon in much the same way as they do calories and to one day compare carbon numbers like they review nutritional labels in the supermarket aisle.
Nike is one of nine companies that have collectively established the Transform to Net Zero initiative to accelerate the transition to a net-zero global economy. Transform to Net Zero will focus on enabling the business transformation needed to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions no later than 2050, while driving broader change with a focus on policy, innovation and finance. The outputs of the initiative will be widely available to all, though additional companies may join. The group aims to complete the outputs of this work by 2025.
And Patagonia has high ambitions, aiming not to be carbon neutral but “carbon positive.” The outdoor wear company says it will only use renewable or recycled materials in its assortment by 2025. As of fall 2019, 69 percent of its line incorporated recycled materials—recycled polyester, recycled wool, recycled down and reclaimed cotton among them—all of which have the added benefit of reducing water use and diverting waste from landfills and oceans.
Patagonia aims to increase its focus on recycled fibers, since 86 percent of its emissions originate from raw materials.
Earlier this month, Swedish startup Doconomy developed the 2030 Calculator, which allows brands and manufacturers to calculate the carbon footprint of their products based on the emissions created from manufacturing and transport to the point of sale. The initial beta version of the digital tool uses data from over 300 impact factors and is currently optimized for apparel.
As more brands participate, Doconomy aims to build a comprehensive “global carbon file” that anyone can search to look up carbon footprints.
In line with brands, raw materials companies also have made efforts to cut their carbon footprint. W.L. Gore & Associates created a new sustainability framework for its Gore Fabrics Division that reflects its long-term commitment to protecting the environment, while prolonging product life and the well-being of people. A key strategic initiative supporting the framework is a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050.