How can we reduce our environmental impact when we do online sales?
E-commerce pollutes less on some aspects than a traditional store (smaller premises, centralized stocks, no customer travel...), but much more on others like probably the most polluting item: parcel shipping.
At Tite chouette, we try to reduce our footprint as much as possible by starting with simple things.
Box recycling and packaging material
Titre chouette receives toy boxes from many places in the world. Why throw away these boxes or papers when almost all of them are in perfect condition? So it is natural for us to reuse and recycle as much as possible of what we receive. It often happens that a customer receives their order with our pretty colorful tape and toy references or drawings on it. Very important to us: plastic-free shipping!
We have even done away with the much-used plastic-coated tape and replaced it with its gummed equivalent, which currently extends our packing time a bit, but offers us much more fun.
We only sell toys made from wood from sustainably managed forests, using non-toxic paints or lacquers. However, the production and transportation of toys necessarily emit a lot of carbon. We want to be able to reverse our environmental impact as much as possible.
To do this, we have started a carbon offset program. How? With the help of our website!"
In fact, since 2018, Shopify has migrated its infrastructure to Google Cloud which allows us to be 100% carbon neutral since Google offsets 100% of the energy consumed by Google Cloud with renewable energy projects.
We are working to reduce our emissions as much as possible, but there are items where we have no alternatives and until we find a viable solution we have decided to offset the carbon our business emits.
Package delivery and toy sourcing
Online businesses generate a lot of CO2, even more so at Tite chouette, as we source from all over the world.
So we have opted for two complementary models.
First : the sourcing of toys.
They come from the four corners of the planet. Each quarter, we offset by joining the zero carbon program of the Quebec cooperative SARGIM. Its main client is the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP). It grows and replants millions of trees by partnering with a non-profit organization to have the plantings done as part of an outreach activity with youth to learn about the role and importance of forests.
As of today (April 2021) we have offset 6303 kg of CO2, which represents 44 trees that will be planted in Quebec this year.
If you would like to learn more about the methodology and the carbon zero program (502 KB - PDF)
Second : saving mature forests.
A newly planted tree takes decades to grow and develop its carbon-absorbing power, while mature forests already do. So these young trees are important for the future, but it's crucial to protect existing old-growth forests as well. We must not forget that mature forests, such as the Amazon, are home to 10% of the world's known species.
This is a concern for us. So we decided to invest by joining the project of the company Pachama supported by big digital companies like Shopify, Gitlab or Microsoft.
We contribute to the conservation project of the forest of Jari Pará (located in the Amazon rainforest). This project covers 50,480 hectares of mostly pristine Amazon rainforest out of the 513,000 hectares of this tropical forest in Brazil. An area the size of the state of Delaware, protecting over 2,400 species of flora and fauna.
Currently when talking about carbon offsets, it is difficult to validate and quantify the impact of a carbon offset. Some bad actors are just out to make money. There is also a wide range of prices for various carbon offsets, but many of them are very expensive (making them an unrealistic option) or conversely, very cheap (can they really do any good for such a low price?). It's difficult and expensive to be able to accurately calculate the compensation.
The project is run by the company Pachama, short for Pachamama (the goddess of the earth). It uses technologies such as satellite images or artificial intelligence to process images. In full transparency here is how every dollar is used:
20% in commission for the company, which allows it to operate and invest in R&D.
80% for afforestation projects - specifically, to the people who own the land and protect the trees.