Bol, the Netherlands best known marketplace, wants to double the number of items they ship without packaging this year from 3.5 million to 7 million items. This means products will, where possible, ship without a cardboard shipping carton which will help cut down the estimated 20% of bol’s total CO2 emissions which come from packaging. Their aim is for the entire business to be carbon neutral by 2025.
“For sustainability reasons, we don’t want to send unnecessary packaging. And the same goes for the filling material that goes into those cardboard boxes. That is why in 2019 we started to no longer pack items such as fans, deep fryers, irons, printers, coffee makers and diapers. The own packaging of these items is sturdy enough for transport from our warehouse to the front door of the customer. We only stick a shipping label on that.”
– Jori Ebskamp , CSR bol.com
In recent months, bol have scrutinised the entire range of 23 million articles sold on the marketplace to examine what can be shipped without a bol.com box. They are also investigating which items with a small adjustment to the original packaging are could easily me made suitable for unpacked shipping, saving on the use of a cardboard shipping carton, and are sharing this information with suppliers. The expectation is that suppliers will with small changes make the packaging suitable for online shopping and shipping without a cardboard box. Examples of such products include slides, air mattresses, buggies & pushchairs, and Christmas trees. ”
This will also impact the 30,000 merchants that sell on bol.com – especially if you use their fulfilment services. If your products can be shipped without a cardboard shipping carton, even if it involves minor changes at manufacture. Think brown box style packaging if possible or retail packaging that products can be shipped in and it will assist you not just on bol, but with any fufillment services you use and when shipping from your own warehouse. If the retail packaging becomes the cardboard shipping carton the time savings from packing orders will be reduced, not only saving CO2 but also man hours in your warehouse. Apart from anything else, look at your annual bill for cardboard boxes and void fill!
Back to Bol, if you don’t adjust your packaging then in the near future you could see a sales decline. Bol are building a sustainable store so that customers can already make a conscious choice. Within the next few years, Bol will offer a more sustainable alternative for each product they sell and if your offer doesn’t fit the bill then environmentally aware consumers could simply pick another merchant’s product to purchase.