May 19, 2024

Why Sustainable E-Commerce is Critical for Nigeria’s Environmental Future


…Adetunji Lanase, Country Manager, Jumia Services, Nigeria

The shift towards online shopping has brought attention to the impact of e-commerce on environmental sustainability. Consumers are increasingly aware of the need to protect the environment, and leading companies are responding to this demand by adopting sustainable practices to build trust.

What Sustainability means in E-commerce?
In e-commerce, the concept of sustainability ranges from effective business models to waste reduction and eco-friendly packaging. In addition, it creates opportunities for protecting the planet, both for forward-thinking sellers and eco-conscious shoppers. These are relevant to fulfilling societal ideals and enabling future generations to meet their needs.

Beyond how e-commerce can improve a country’s economy, it can also reduce its carbon footprint. According to a global study by Generation IM, digital commerce is 17% more carbon-efficient than traditional retail stores. Transportation of goods, construction, storage, product packaging, and manufacturing are all examples of business sectors that are carbon efficient. Since online companies rely less on physical store locations, they have more flexibility when implementing measures to reduce their carbon emissions.

Nigeria, for instance, is yet to fully tap into the potential the adoption of e-commerce could afford her in her quest for sustainability. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) economic report, developing countries need to consider policies that can help them harness digital commerce, as classical business barriers can be broken down and leveraged to promote sustainability. This report demonstrates that e-commerce is no longer a trendy buzzword but a desirable tactic for many companies that wish to stay caught up.

Jumia Nigeria’s Approach
Jumia is at the forefront of e-commerce in Africa, with a network of thousands of merchants and millions of consumers who rely on our platforms every day. As a responsible corporate citizen, we understand that our actions can have a significant impact on the environment, and we have taken steps to ensure that our operations are sustainable. By offering eco-friendly filter options and highlighting the environmental impact of products, we encourage consumers to make more sustainable choices.

One of our key sustainability goals at Jumia Nigeria is to reduce our carbon footprint through sustainable packaging, which minimises waste and promotes recycling. Our Environmental Social Governance Report outlines five key themes for our sustainability strategy, which include minimising our impact on the environment, providing convenient and affordable options for our consumers, empowering our sellers and partners, fostering a diverse workforce, and operating with strong governance and ethical standards.

We recognise that incorporating sustainability into our business operations can significantly enhance our overall performance and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future for all. As part of our commitments, we offer pickup stations that enable customers to receive their orders at convenient locations close to them. These pickup stations are strategically located to encourage customers to walk or use low-carbon transportation to retrieve their orders, thereby improving fulfilment efficiency while minimising environmental impact. This approach aligns sustainability with business operations, proving to be a key success factor for our sustainability journey.

Moreover, Jumia will be delivering customers orders in the original manufacturers’ packaging instead of having additional Jumia branded packaging. Our new packaging guidelines are aimed at cutting down on waste created from our packaging material. Such an approach is critical in achieving our sustainability goals.

E-commerce is fast becoming a vital component of the Nigerian economy. Its efforts have opened up numerous opportunities for small-scale businesses and customers, providing them with strategies to protect the environment while enhancing the ease of doing business and the quality of life. At Jumia, we believe that sustainable e-commerce cannot be ignored by stakeholders in the Nigerian markets. Given the continuous rise in online businesses and internet users, the benefits of digital commerce outweigh the challenges. Therefore, Jumia views digital commerce as a crucial factor for growth and sustainability.

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