How the Pandemic Changed the Definition of the Future of Work

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Ian Lazarus, CEO & Founder, Neutrl | PUBLISHED ON Apr 22, 2022

Earth Day 2022: Retail’s impact on climate change is real. Here’s how Neutrl is combating it. 

As we continue to emerge from and adapt to the impact of a global pandemic, retail is growing at levels not seen in over 20 years. Retail sales increased by 7% in 2020 and over 14% in 2021. 

The environmental impact of this trend is hugely troubling. And while many companies have already taken significant steps toward transitioning to sustainable practices, others have struggled even to start. 

My company Neutrl, an Austin-based eco-API, is helping retailers in all stages of their transition to achieve their sustainability targets. 


Retail emissions are no joke — and consumers want more sustainable options. 

From the point a retail product is manufactured to when it’s discarded, it has the potential to damage the environment considerably through the emissions of greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide, in particular. The stages of materials sourcing, shipping, and returns can be particularly emissions-intensive

Several studies have concluded that consumers are more attracted to sustainable retail products. Not only do consumers want sustainable options, they expect them. The Global Sustainability Study 2021 found that 85 percent of consumers have shifted toward more sustainable purchase behavior in the past five years. The same study found more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay premium prices for retail products manufactured and shipped under sustainable practices.

Younger consumers are leading a multi-generational trend in sustainability-motivated purchasing. Moreover, values-motivated purchasing behavior is rising, as has been manifested in fair trade and increased demand for locally made products. 


Emissions removal 101. 

Emissions removal methods pull carbon dioxide and other pollutants out of the atmosphere and store them long-term—up to thousands of years. This process slowly counteracts the effects of the greenhouse effect, which is responsible for global warming. 

What does this mean for retail? There are many ways in which a retailer can reduce the emissions footprint of their products. Addressing packaging, shipping routes, payment methods, materials used, and return rates are all good measures. 

Emissions reduction should not be confused with emissions removal, however. 

The IPCC has made it clear in their April report that to achieve net-zero greenhouse gasses, global emissions need to not only slow but actively reverse, which can be achieved through emissions removal methods. 


Making the transition to sustainability. 

Taking active steps to make retail businesses sustainable can be challenging. That’s where Neutrl comes in: to get the ball rolling for brands to make their operations maximally sustainable.

With Neutrl’s solid foundation of emissions offsetting individual purchases, brands can feel confident starting to independently reduce the emissions from their products. 


How does it work?

Working with Neutrl is simple. Brands that partner with Neutrl will have the option to “neutralize” an order in their checkout section. If a customer agrees, Neutrl’s algorithm determines the emissions impact of their order. Neutrl uses this offset calculation to purchase carbon removal offsets from various projects.


More than just a checkbox. 

Neutrl’s goals extend beyond helping retail brands make their products emissions-zero. It is helping the culture of the retail economy take a hard left turn towards sustainability. Our goal is to work together across industries to support carbon removal projects that change the world and reduce climate change to below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change. 

We also encourage brands to publicize their sustainability methods to drive more impactful change and reach more sustainability-focused customers. Ultimately, there’s a real demand (and urgent environmental need) for sustainable products—and Neutrl offers a path to reaching it. 


About the Author

Ian Lazarus is the founder & CEO of Neutrl and a Member of CEO Pavilion. 


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