sustainability in the retail industry - e4cents




Globalization has brought about development in many areas of our daily lives such as communication, technology, manufacturing, etc. This is a great achievement by the human race but so does it encourage a high level of consumerism.

Lately, the rapid growth of eCommerce has opened up a great channel for consumers to shop with ease, it’s been estimated that over 2.14 billion people worldwide shop online and this is about 25% of the total population of people in the world. Due to this, the number of manufacturers and retailers is also growing by the day which has led to massive competition within the industry. For retailers to get part of the market share from targeted consumers they try a different strategy that promises the consumer “ease of shopping”.

Free returns of goods purchased by consumers are one of the major strategies being used by most retail stores to get more consumers to shop on their platform. However, this has become a nightmare for most retailers as reverse logistics is always a loss on their part. Aside from the side effects of free returns, competition within the industry has drastically reduced the shelf life of products due to too many variations of the same type of product from various brands and manufacturers, the result only confuses consumers thereby resulting in heightened cognitive dissonance, because there will always be another brand with better price and better quality.

This, however, is gradually becoming an environmental issue because reverse logistics increases the operational amount of carbon footprints contributed by this company which largely adds up to global warming. Cumulatively the returns, overstocks, off-trend, and unsold goods and items have become a storage issue at all levels of the supply chain. The remedy most retailers and brands use to get rid of these excess inventories is through landfills or by burning.

Each year about 5 billion pounds of waste are being generated from these products which defeat the purpose of the products and also waste already scarce resources used. In the end it all adds up to the already existing environmental issues.

Sustainability is becoming a major concern for retailers and businesses; this is why businesses like are helping in creating a more sustainable extension of most product shelf life by helping the big retail stores clear out their overstocks and excesses inventories to get it to the right people that needs it at the minimum cost possible. E4cents business model as a social enterprise tries to solve 2 impending problems in the society with sustainability at the core of their value. One business is not enough to clear up the environmental issues we are facing but a little step in the right direction, in the long run, might save our planet. Everyone is responsible for global warming and every little action taken by each individual will help reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere.


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