Last week, we talked about the usual sustainability solutions which you may have already tried in your business strategies. We brought into discussion the way in which the retail and e-commerce market becomes familiar with notions such as alternative transport and delivery methods, pick-up points, digital delivery automation systems. But what's behind the ideas that can change an entire paradigm? What do brilliant sustainable concepts have in common that put sustainability at the forefront of innovation?
Today, we are talking about The top 5 local ideas pro sustainability that answer to real needs in Romania and set new market best practices. Five great ideas for the future and a secret ingredient of the modern business thinking: always be curious about how your consumer is changing.
Small and mid-sized packages delivered by drone. Freight transport performed with the help of ordinary people and personal cars. Truck manufacturers testing fully automated, driverless vehicles. Transport companies that rely on software to optimize their routes, decrease their fuel consumption and reduce their CO2 footprint by up to 14%.
Nowadays, the new sustainable concepts developed in the last mile show that efficient, cheap, safe deliveries on one side, and environmental awareness on the other side, do not have to be in a contradiction of terms. Let's take the example of Sinapseria, a project born out of passion - the freedom of movement by bike, and desire - to do things better for Bucharest. This is how a fast courier service was born, focused to deliver anything that can be transported in a big bag, anywhere in Bucharest, regardless of the weather, in no more than 60 minutes. Clean air already saved: 124,729 CO2 tons, and a mentality that holds together a team of 8 couriers.
"It's about the joy of being in touch with the city. We like to see it, to enjoy the beauty around us. On the bike, the connection between people and their city is immediate. It's also very easy to maintain. Unlike traveling by car, you can get everywhere you want, the way you want and when you want. You get to discover the hidden marvellous places of your city, because you are no longer limited to the crowded roads. Apparently, the city gets smaller and you get to your destination faster. But, in fact, the city becomes much richer and more generous in what it has to offer. Because cities were built for people, and people have the chance to meet and interact with each other. "
In a local market that uses daily 500,000 disposable plastic or cardboard packaging for online shipments and cuts 250,000 trees yearly for e-commerce packaging cardboard, R-Create has developed the first and the only re-usable packaging for online orders delivery.
The concept is quite simple and is suitable for more than 80% from the parcels ordered online: the courier delivers the product in their original packaging, but sealed in an secondary R-Create returnable bag. When receiving their order, the customers unseal it, takes the product and returns the returnable packaging to the courier. This way, the packaging re-enters the delivery circuit and, through the standard return procedure, can be reused for even more than 20 times. At the end of its lifecycle, R-Create collects the packaging and recycles it.
What the R-Create team has created is more than just packaging. It's about educating an entire nation on ecology and sustainability, by simplifying the recycling process through a plug & play solution ready to be used by any company, without any fuss.
I don't think that you can change the purpose of a corporation. Its role is to bring profits to its shareholders. The problem occurs with the way it makes money. When you want to get involved and raise topics such as ecology, you can't go to a corporation and tell them "Listen, you should do good because is the good thing to do." That's not an argument to start a discussion. Or it could be the start of a social responsibility project, but what happens when the CSR budget ends or gets cut? The best way to react is to get end-customers involved. Once they're aware of being a part of the solution, consumers will rise and ask their brands to get involved, too". (Linda Vasilescu, R-Create)
Another local player that has transformed its operations and its entire business mentality in the pursuit to reduce pollution and carbon emissions is Sameday Courier. From heavy investments in its fully electric vehicles fleet, to redesigning its entire delivery experience, the company uses optimal resources to generate change throughout society.
Through the Easybox network expansion alone, the company reduced by 15.8% the carbon emissions from direct operations in Romania. While each package delivered through courier companies produces 300g of carbon dioxide emissions, a package loaded in a locker system generates only 14g of carbon dioxide.
Everything comes in sync with solving a hot issue for end-customers: dynamic and flexible deliveries, with easy to use options for order pickup or return, whenever needed, without queuing or changing their schedule.
Sustainability goes beyond recyclable materials and green ways to move goods. Some retailers choose to rely on fast and transparent communication with end customers, while making deliveries more efficient, and therefore greener.
For example, Flanco chooses to decrease the return rates by implementing a bi-directional feedback and NPS system. The company collects its customers opinion about the way their order was delivered, not only about the quality of their purchase and, in this way, collects real time data to use & further optimize the end-to-end process and customer satisfaction.
Automated rating & NPS forms are used after every delivery and they allow Flanco to gather valuable information on how to turn their e-commerce and supply-chain operations into loyalty generators. All this, while saving resources and simplifying their customers overall journey.
The outcome? 20% less refusals and returns with significant cost reduction in warehouse operations, order re-treatment or returned products discount re-sale.
Giving furniture a second life. Products that gain longer life time, by re-entering in the usage circuit for a lower price. Here is an idea that takes care of the environment by reducing the amount of product waste, while helping customers to save money and buy efficiently.
Launched on the Romanian market at the end of 2020, IKEA buyback is more than a circular business solution. It is the proof that we can live a simpler and more accessible life, while making a positive impact on the environment.
These are just some of the local projects from different business sector where companies decided to adopt sustainability concepts as a form of continuous innovation and development. What do they have in common? Companies point out their essential customers first approach. About their preoccupation for eco-friendly and sustainable development. About their assumed responsibility to educate and to further deliver the message of positive change. And finally, the ability to understand that sustainability is not a one-time concept, a momentary revelation, a trend or a source of gain - but a credo to live by. The natural and healthy transition to a better future.