CURBON offers e-commerce plug-in for carbon offsetting

Steffen Burrows, Curbon co-founder and director. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn
Steffen Burrows, Curbon co-founder and director. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn

Sustainability is a topic of growing importance in South Africa, with 92% of respondents in a 2022 study by InSites Consulting indicating that it is important to them. However, only 58% of respondents claimed to live sustainably, highlighting the gap between acknowledgement and action that many South Africans face.

This presents an opportunity for online retailers and e-commerce merchants, who can help to bridge this gap by making sustainable living more accessible to their customers, according to Steffen Burrows, the co-founder and director of CURBON.

Brands that embrace sustainability can benefit from increased consumer loyalty, as South Africans are ready to commit to companies that are sustainability-oriented. In addition, sustainable brands are perceived as more trustworthy and providing higher quality products.

With online retail growing by 35% in 2022, according to a study by World Wide Worx with Mastercard, there is a significant opportunity for online sellers to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking a stance on sustainability.

One immediate action that online retailers can take is carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting allows customers to offset the carbon footprint of their purchases by paying for carbon credits. This enables businesses to ensure that their customers can continue to consume while reducing their impact on the environment.

By offsetting their products all the way up the value chain, companies can help move the needle on sustainability while allowing themselves the breathing room to redesign their processes and business models.

CURBON provides an easy-to-use plug-in for e-commerce merchants to implement carbon offsetting at checkout. The system uses industry standards to calculate the total emissions of the contents of a customer’s cart, and then adds the amount of emissions to the total amount paid. By implementing this plug-in, companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and improve their brand image as being environmentally conscious.

The sustainability trend in South Africa is moving towards creating circular economies and ensuring that companies put their sustainability commitments into action. While carbon offsetting is an important step, it is just the beginning.

Companies must commit to making tangible changes to their business practices to reduce their environmental impact. By helping their customers make more sustainable decisions, online retailers and e-commerce merchants can play a significant role in moving towards a more sustainable future.

As Burrows notes, “There is no room to compete on price, so online sellers need to seize every advantage they can to grow their customer base and increase checkouts.”

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