How to shop online sales sustainably

If sustainable shopping is important to you, do you have to skip the online sales? Not necessarily. We take a look at how you can make sure you’re supporting sales that are true to your sustainability values.

If your shopping focus is sustainability and social responsibility, you’re not alone. The mindful shopping movement, which encourages shoppers to place environmental sustainability ahead of bargains, is in full swing.

But there are ways to make the two – bargains and staying true to your sustainability and social values – go together.

Research the brands and products that align with your values

One of the trickiest aspects of sustainable shopping is trusting the brands you want to shop with. You can establish this trust before buying by doing your research before the sales:

  • Dig into the brand. You can find details of a brand’s sustainability values by reading their About page, product descriptions, social media accounts, email newsletters and reviews from other customers. They might even have a page dedicated to sustainability that provides you with the answers you’re looking for.
  • Wondering what details to look for? The most common things shoppers are keen to know include the social and environmental impact of their purchase, how durable the item will be, and whether it’s produced locally, ethically and with minimal carbon emission. They’re great places to start focusing your research.

Shop the online sale events that are a good fit with you

If you’re led by your values when shopping, it’s possible you’re among those who are willing to pay a bit more for sustainable goods1.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate finding a good deal or saving money on something you need. Try shopping some different sales that help you to find the brands you’d like to shop with. Green Friday is a great example of an online sales event that promotes brands with offers that support sustainability, re-commerce or the circular economy.

In the big online sale events, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Click Frenzy and others, you’re also likely to find some brands who are participating sustainably. It will take a little bit of research to work out which ones are a good fit for you.

Another event that might fit with your values is GivingTuesday, which is promoted as an antidote to online sale events. This will help you to feel you’re supporting non-profit causes that fit your values while taking a break from being a consumer.

Ask about the delivery and packaging solutions that brands use

How sustainable are the delivery and packaging used by the brands you shop with? That’s the question on the lips of two-thirds of online shoppers, who dislike it when their goods arrive with excessive packaging2.

To find out more about the packaging a brand uses, first check on the About section or FAQs on their website. Some sustainable brands will make it clear that they minimise packaging, and if not then it’s okay to reach out and ask them.

Three-quarters of online shoppers also believe that sustainable delivery should be standard2. This means it’s a great idea to find out who is the delivery partner of the brands you want to shop with. With Australia Post, you can be assured parcel postage paid via the Post Office, Online Shop, or MyPost Business account is carbon neutral3.

Look for brands who are being creative with sustainability

While online sales are traditionally about reducing prices, some businesses are opting for more creative ways to showcase their sustainability ethos.

For example, during the Green Friday sales, Melbourne fashion brand Elk decided to plant a tree for every purchase instead of discounting their prices. And t-shirt business Citizen Wolf put their own spin against consumerism by hosting ‘Black Fri-dye’, asking customers to send in used clothing to be dyed black in order to extend its lifespan. Other brands donate a percentage of profits to a cause that shares their business and customer values.

Have a look at what your favourite sustainable brands are doing around the times of online sales events and consider supporting their efforts.

Together with many other shoppers, you’re building a sustainable movement that’s here for the long-term.

Learn more about all the ways we are committed to helping build a sustainable society.

You may also like

1 Deloitte, 2022 Deloitte retailers’ holiday survey, 2022

2 Australia Post, Project Golden onwards, 2022

Carbon offset for international parcel deliveries is to the international hub only.