Can you truly make money by being sustainable?

New Member
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Hey. all! This is a question our team is constantly struggling with. We believe businesses can make "green" by being "green" but after running a significant amount of user interviews we noticed that barely any store owner is looking into sustainability, primarily because they want the most lean option. Hopefully this helps a bit. I am extremely excited to share a little about what our great team here at Arbor has been doing for the past year. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we go about our daily lives. It is crazy to think that now every three in five consumers are prioritizing ethical issues in their purchasing decisions, sustainable companies are now getting an increased share of the market! We know that Fall Winter Spring Summer constantly searches for ways to be sustainable, with its challenges and all. One of the biggest being understanding the overall impact of your products and marketing your sustainability efforts in a simple, yet effective way. This is where we love the power of reddit and communities, cannot build a great product without the help of the people we are building it for.

We are in the process of developing a Shopify plugin and would love the feedback of the Shopify community itself and would love to know if there is anything you would change, add or you would want to see to help make your product offering more sustainable. We are developing a free Impact Calculator, with the ability to Measure, Improve and Showcase the inevitable change in the market. Created specifically to help you understand the impact of your products and allow you to know the ins and outs of your business. From finding certified suppliers & manufacturers to different materials & packaging, we do all the grunt work. At no cost. 

We would love to connect with anyone who finds this interesting. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, I hope this can bring some value to you! 

Reply 1 (1)
Shopify Expert
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I know from first hand experience that if the give-back / sustainability initiative is presented clearly, many customers will choose a higher priced product to support that brand, compared to similar products, even if the other products are significantly lower cost (results from Amazon customers / reviewers).

The key is:

1) Finding a way to add sustainability (via materials or a give back program, for example)

2) Articulating that message in the branding, making it tangible (for example "we plant 1 tree for every product purchased, here is how and where we plant"... is exponentially more identifiable than "we donate a % of sales to charity").

If you're building an app to help stores with this, I think your best show of value would be to do some case studies with brands that are interested, and screenshots of customer reviews that have interacted with the brand (you'll see things like "I love what this company is doing", and "wow so cool!", and "I found a similar brand when searching but chose this one because they [have sustainable materials, plant trees, donate meals to puppies, support indigenous communites, etc]".

Good luck on your project, I always like seeing people striving to do more good in the world

Creator of Order Automator (auto tag orders / customers + auto fulfillment + more automations).
Creator of Shopify Analyzer (1st performance analysis tool for Shopify sites, free for the Shopify community).
Founder of Speed Boostr (Shopify optimization experts + app developers).
More apps: Theme Scientist (A/B testing), Tip Jar (add a tip button), File Optimizer (optimize CSS, JS, Liquid).