Good for Sunday’s new peer-to-peer return network aims to help the environment
Online shopping exploded at the start of the pandemic. Even now, as people are venturing back into bricks-and-mortar stores more and more often, the ease of purchasing items on the internet has kept online sales high. Unfortunately, the environment usually pays the price for consumers’ convenience, as couriers and delivery drivers rush around in fossil fuel-burning vehicles, carrying both deliveries and items to be returned, all wrapped inside layers of paper, plastic and cardboard.
Some companies have been experimenting with ways to reduce their carbon footprint, such as using eco-friendly packaging. Furniture retailer EQ3 has pledged to stop using Styrofoam in its packaging by 2023, and it recently launched an online resale program in the US. Clothing company Ecologyst has the Second Life program, which connects sellers and buyers of used Ecologyst clothing, and the brand also offers free repairs for life. H&M has Rewear, which lets consumers buy and sell secondhand garments from any brand.
Good for Sunday is a Canadian brand with sustainability baked into its very DNA. “Sustainability truly is a thread through everything we do,” says Anthony Kentris (pictured below right), one of the co-founders of the company that produces comfy loungewear such as hoodies, tees, shorts and sweatpants. Everything is designed and made in Canada, through partnerships with family-owned companies. “In our collection, we select sustainable materials that use less resources to grow than traditional alternatives. For every order, we neutralize the carbon emissions of the shipment, and use compostable and recyclable packaging in order to reduce our impact on the environment as much as we can.”One thing that concerned Kentris right from the start is the amount of waste generated by the return process for the typical online order. “Every year, millions of tonnes of CO2 are emitted and billions of pounds of waste are sent to landfills because of the dangerous precedent large corporations have set around the consumer returns experience,” he says. Initially, Good for Sunday addressed the problem in two ways.
“The first is through providing very thorough sizing information on our product pages, including photography of styles on different body types, along with the model’s measurements and size they’re wearing. The second is through a returns policy that encourages choosing your right size the first time versus purchasing multiple and sending back the items that don’t fit.”
These strategies worked well for a while, but as the company grew, truly outside-the-box thinking was needed regarding sustainability. Kentris recalls, “We thought... instead of a customer shipping a return back to us, why don’t they ship it to the next customer that wants to buy it?”
That’s how Ecoturns was born.
When a customer wants to return a non-damaged item, instead of sending it back to the company, they send it to the next customer—who then saves 15 percent on the purchase. Good for Sunday provides the prepaid shipping label. This innovative process reduces the carbon dioxide emissions associated with shipping and keeps some packaging out of landfill.
Kentris feels optimistic about the brand’s fledgling peer-to-peer return network and hopes that other eco-minded companies will develop programs similar to Ecoturns. “With customers that care about sustainability as much as ours do, the slight decrease in ease would surely be worth the improvement in environmental impact.”