Etsy to offset global shipping emissions

Online retailer Etsy has announced plans to offset 100% of its carbon emissions generated from shipping items, free of charge for its customers.

Etsy to offset global shipping emissions

Carbon credits purchased by Etsy will be used to fund reforestation initiatives and renewable energy projects

The move will see the shopping platform work with offsetting firm 3Degrees, which independently validates and verifies projects under internationally recognised standards such as the American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve, Gold Standard, and Verified Carbon Standard.

The scheme will involve the automatic purchasing of offsets each time a customer buys an item on Etsy, but with no additional cost to buyers or sellers. Etsy is the first global online shopping retailer to make the move.

Verified emission-offsetting projects supported by 3Degrees, and highlighted by Etsy, include the UBP Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project, which maintains 10 million trees as part of a 187,876 acre forest; the Giriraj Wind Power project, where wind capacity is assisting in displacing grid reliance on coal, diesel, furnace oil, and gas combustion; and the Solar Grouped Project by ACME, delivering investment to 11 solar developments across India.

Etsy has already committed to a number of other sustainability measures across its core business. In 2016, the firm agreed to power its operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2020, and it has a Power Purchase Agreement to enable the development of a new solar farm, as well as installing solar panels at its offices. Etsy also achieved zero-waste operations globally in 2018, two years ahead of schedule.

‘Higher standard’

But Etsy chief executive Josh Silverman said in a blog post on Tuesday (26 February) that the company still hasn’t gone far enough. As a “jump-start” to the firm’s own permanent offsetting agenda, Silverman said the firm would offset shipping emissions for the entire US e-commerce sector for the day (Wednesday 27 February). Every day in the US, approximately 55,000 metric tons of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere by delivering packages from online orders.

Silverman said: “While we’re pleased with the progress within our operations, I believe we must hold ourselves to an even higher standard. 98% of Etsy’s total emissions stem from items shipped from our sellers to our buyers.

“Although we do not actively manage this shipping process, we are in the position to do something about the environmental impact. That’s why, starting today, Etsy is becoming the first global e-commerce company to offset 100% of carbon emissions generated by shipping.”

James Evison


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