Jessica Hulett
Content Manager, Brand @ Yotpo
June 9th, 2022

A Deep Dive Into Sustainability with AWIE Australia

Learn strategies and get inspired with these insights from amazing women at sustainable eCommerce brands.

Table Of Contents

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword — it’s something brands need to embrace if they want to get new customers and keep existing ones coming back. Yotpo’s State of Brand Loyalty 2022 survey showed that 84% of consumers are more inclined to be loyal to a brand that shares their values, and that number is even higher for gen Z shoppers, at more than 90%.

We recently held an #AskMeAnything session with amazing women from sustainable eCommerce brands in Australia on LinkedIn Live, and they had a lot to say about communicating your brand values, making your business more sustainable, and their favorite eco-friendly brands and products. Our guests were Hannah Udina, Agency Partnerships at Shopify Plus, Julie Mathers, Founder of Flora & Fauna, and Priscilla Hajiantoni, Founder of Bangn Body.

Here are some of the insights they shared.

Brands need to think bigger about sustainability

Are you being really clear about using biodegradable and sustainable packaging? Are you making sure that every delivery is carbon neutral or using a carrier that is carbon neutral? Are you making sure that you offset your carbon emissions? And if you are, make that clear. Make sure that you are aligning your values to that, because sometimes it’s not just about the product — it’s also about all of the other factors that go into getting a product to your home. – Hannah Udina

Flora & Fauna has been a proud B Corp for four years now. That certification really, really addresses everything in your business, from who you bank with through to what your supply chain is, and how much you pay your team. So when we are looking at a sustainable, ethical business, it has to be beyond a marketing campaign, it must be deep into the core of that business. – Julie Mathers

We are going through that process at the moment, which is quite a large process, but the good news is with B Corp, it allows you to be aware and become better as you are actually going through that application. During that course of application, you can be like, oh, okay, I’m doing this amazing initiative, but if I actually took it here, then we’ll have a higher score in B Corp — it makes you better as a brand. – Priscilla Hajiantoni

Who your brand partners with matters

Bangn Body is a big believer in collaboration and partnership and uplifting like-minded brands, business owners, and obviously customers as well. We definitely prioritize and ensure that every brand that we align with do share the same or similar values. I think who you align with really tells a story of who you are as a brand and ultimately the consumers you are communicating to as well. – Priscilla Hajiantoni

Affordability is still a consideration for consumers

I think absolutely people want to shop consciously, but they also want it to be affordable. When we launched our own brand at Flora & Fauna, I took a really simple example of a bamboo toothbrush. And I said, the way we’re gonna drive change is you have a bamboo toothbrush and you have a plastic toothbrush and they are being sold at the same spot. And they are the same price. And the only consideration you have is that one’s more sustainable as opposed to the price — because we are a very price-driven world, unfortunately. – Julie Mathers

Hire employees who share your brand values

The first question I ask of anyone I interview is tell me what your values are. Because if you are aligned on values, you are going to be aligned on purpose and then everything else streams out from that. – Julie Mathers

We have quite a stringent process when hiring. For me, I feel like skill is secondary and ultimately you can train skill — you can’t train culture or intent or just a person’s value of being a good human being. I think it’s super important that when you do hire that you aren’t disrupting that culture that you are building because it is something that you begin to build from your very first hire. And it’s something that needs to be front of mind to ensure that you’re hiring the right people who genuinely believe in the brand and want to work alongside you. – Priscilla Hajiantoni

eCommerce technology companies are embracing sustainability, too

Shopify’s Sustainability Fund is designed to firstly generate demand for carbon renewal, secondly, enable new companies to prove their scale in innovative carbon removal technologies and third, spend millions per year on carbon removal, which is actually really important to drive down future prices to ensure that carbon removal is accessible for a broader scale of companies. So far, the fund has invested in 20 different companies that have some form of innovative carbon removal technologies. I highly recommend everyone jump on and look into these technologies.

What’s really cool is that the Sustainability Fund has now kind of merged into what we call the Frontier initiative. And you may have seen some press around it. Essentially, Frontier is an advanced market commitment between Shopify, Stripe, Alphabet, Meta, and McKinsey.

And just to add to that on a more simplistic level, and most people don’t know this, but if you have Shop Pay enabled on your store, it goes towards planting trees. It’s really good for people to know that at least there’s some type of carbon offset, even if it’s something as simple as payments via Shop Pay. – Hannah Udina

5 sustainable brands to inspire you

  • The Booty Hut: I recently discovered Booty underwear, bras, and undergarments. They’re so comfortable, all sustainable. And I love the fact that they’re also making it really accessible for everyone. Priscilla Hajiantoni
  • Ethique: I’m a massive fan of shampoo and conditioner bars. I have been since I first tried them probably three or four years ago. Ethique shampoo bars, Heali Kiwi, brilliant. Really, really love those. – Julie Mathers
  • frank green: They’re amazing. They do the most incredible water bottles and we’ve actually partnered with them before on an amazing reusable, canistered coffee cup, which was great. I do not go anywhere without my Frank Green water bottle. It’s the best. – Priscilla Hajiantoni
  • Allbirds: I love Allbirds. They’re kind of good at everything. And I think what is really great about them is they’re very transparent, And on the back of that, their valuation of the business is over a billion dollars. So I think what it also shows is that you can be an ethical, responsible business but also incredibly investible as well. And that’s how we need to actually start shifting change. – Julie Mathers
  • The North Face: The North Face has this program called Clothes the Loop, which essentially goes and collects customers’ old clothing, and they give $10 off a purchase for every hundred dollars’ purchase or more. And these are repurposed into things like insulation and carpet padding. And it’s like, you’re actually doing something that is highlighting how you are making impact or creating impact. And it goes way beyond just putting a logo on something. So I think those types of initiatives in terms of how brands are getting creative with the way that they’re promoting sustainability is something to look out for. – Hannah Udina

Learn more about sustainable brands founded by Amazing Women in eCommerce, and join the AWIE Slack Community to be part of the conversation on all things eCommerce.


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