How Shopify are helping us all be more Eco-Friendly with Stacy Kauk, Head of Sustainability at Shopify (episode 443)

Having worked in sustainability for a decade, Stacy Kauk is currently the Head of Sustainability at Shopify. She has been leading the change at Shopify since January 2020 where her role is to ensure the businesses using Shopify’s platform, the shoppers that purchase from a Shopify merchant, and climate entrepreneurs globally are working together in the fight against climate change.

Stacy Kauk Shopify  on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Getting Into eCommerce

Stacy is an environmental engineer and worked with different industrial sectors before moving into government work under the Department of the Environment. It was there that she started to realize that there’s a need to move as fast as possible to solve climate change.

She discovered Shopify and its sustainability focus in 2019 and saw the opportunity to drive change through the platform. That’s what drove her to eCommerce and to work at Shopify.

Conscious Commerce

Shopify released a report called “Conscious Commerce” where one of the statistics included shows that 62% of consumers won’t compromise on sustainability even with tightening budgets.

This means that buyers do care about sustainability. How this relates to eCommerce is that businesses should realize how sustainability is aligned with company success, notwithstanding the biggest barrier, which is cost. But if you can find options to provide sustainable offerings or better connections to your buyers, then the sales will offset the additional cost of incorporating sustainability.

The Planet App

Stacy says it’s important to recognize that nothing is perfect when it comes to sustainability, and what businesses need to think about is the most impactful thing they can do and in what area.

What’s most common among Shopify merchants is that they ship things worldwide. With Shopify’s new Planet app and plugin, emissions from shipping can be estimated for every order that’s placed on a merchant’s store. That takes care of one side of the equation.

The other aspect focuses on offering carbon credits that Shopify merchants may use to reduce emissions caused by their shipments. Because these are the exact same carbon credits that Shopify uses, they allow small and medium-sized businesses access to reliable carbon credits.

For Stacy, this is a perfect example of removing friction on their platform. Merchants are able to offer carbon-neutral shipping, while customers are able to see the impact their purchases have on the environment.

Going Beyond the App: The Sustainability Fund

Stacy says that the most important thing is to reduce emissions. Having said that, there is a need to remove historical emissions from the atmosphere. Shopify’s Sustainability Fund is working with various companies on the development of technologies that can remove carbon from the atmosphere.

What this will hopefully do is draw down historical carbon as current emissions are stopped.

More Sustainability Projects

Moving away from direct air capture, Stacy shares another initiative Shopify is working on.

It’s a project with Running Tide, a company that is focused on removing carbon to restore ocean health. Stacy says this is an exciting opportunity because an ocean-based solution to the climate crisis can even be superior to a tree-planting solution.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • For Stacy, it’s their subscriber list. This represents their community of individuals and brands who prioritize climate action within their own businesses. They are crucial to Shopify, and the latter focuses  its efforts on providing them with valuable information and opportunities.

Tool Top Tip

  • Their team finds that asynchronous videos are most effective, especially given that Shopify is a remote-first company.

Carbon Top Tip

  • Use the right tools so you can build trust with your buyers. Stacy says it’s all about high fidelity commerce, wherein you’re using tools that will limit returns because your customers are getting exactly what they expected.

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