Case Study

Sustainable Sourcing for Shopify Stores


Here at Carma, we're committed to sustainable sourcing for Shopify stores, recognising it as the gold standard in reducing our environmental footprint.

A quick caveat to sustainable sourcing: 

Here at Carma, we're committed to sustainable sourcing for Shopify stores, recognising it as the gold standard in reducing our environmental footprint. However, we understand that for some businesses, integrating sustainable sourcing may not be immediately feasible. In these instances, we advocate for a highly effective alternative—engaging in carbon contribution initiatives, such as tree planting. This action not only contributes positively to our planet but also aligns with our goals for a sustainable future. It's about taking meaningful steps, however small they may seem, to make a significant impact - Jim Holland, CEO, Carma

Choosing Green Suppliers and Sustainable Products

The first step in sustainable sourcing is selecting suppliers who prioritise environmental ethics. Green suppliers engage in practices that minimise environmental harm by using renewable resources, reducing chemical pollutants, and managing waste effectively. When choosing suppliers, Shopify store owners should evaluate the environmental impact of their operations and the sustainability of the products they offer.

To ensure that products are sustainable, consider the following aspects:

  • Materials: Opt for suppliers that use recycled, organic, or sustainably harvested materials.
  • Production Process: Look for suppliers who utilise energy-efficient manufacturing processes and minimal harmful chemicals.
  • Supply Chain Transparency: Choose suppliers that provide clear information about their supply chain, demonstrating accountability from source to store.
“The issue with “sustainable product sourcing” is that the phrase itself is a little bit of a contradiction in terms. To be truly sustainable, you would “source” as little product as possible. However, if you have nothing or very little to sell, then most retail businesses would go under pretty quickly. This is why I believe circular business models, in particular rental, are the true path forward for sustainability. With circularity and rental, you no longer have to continually source and sell products in a linear “conveyor belt” kind of way. Instead, you cut down on the amount of product sourcing that’s needed by holding a smaller amount of items, and drive business growth by renting them out on multiple occasions over a period of time. Operating in this way allows retail and ecommerce brands to achieve sustainable product sourcing, while still driving continuous economic and business growth. “- Ryan Atkins, CEO, Supercycle

Benefits of Local Sourcing

Local sourcing is not only a pillar of sustainable sourcing but also brings several benefits:

  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: Local sourcing decreases the distance goods travel, significantly cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation.
  • Support for Local Economies: Buying locally supports the economic health of your community by creating jobs and stimulating local businesses.
  • Fresher Products: Especially relevant for perishable goods, local sourcing often means products are fresher and of higher quality.

Certifications to Look for in Sustainable Sourcing

Certifications can help reassure you and your customers about the sustainability of the products you sell. Some key certifications to look for include:

  • Fair Trade Certified: Ensures products are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable while also protecting workers' rights.
  • Organic Certifications (such as USDA Organic, EU Organic, etc.): Verifies that products are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and other additives.
  • Energy Star: Applies to electrical products and appliances, signalling energy efficiency.
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): Indicates products sourced from responsibly managed forests.

By integrating these practices into your sourcing strategy, you can enhance the sustainability of your Shopify store. Sustainable sourcing not only reduces your environmental impact but also builds a positive brand image and attracts consumers who value ethical practices. This chapter will delve deeper into how implementing these strategies effectively can lead to long-term benefits for your store, your community, and the environment.

Want to find out more about sustainable sourcing and other eco-friendly practices for Shopify brands? Check out our Green Blueprint for Shopify Brands today. 

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