By avi maxwel / in , , , , /

Five years from now, none of us will go through a product checkout experience and not have the option to make our purchase carbon neutral. That’s how Dane Baker, co-founder and CEO of EcoCart, predicts the sustainable future of e-commerce.

His company, EcoCart, partners with brands and retailers to power a carbon-neutral and climate positive shopping experience. The app calculates the carbon footprint of products, giving consumers the opportunity to offset the emissions at checkout through brand-sponsored sustainability projects.

“We’re making it easy for consumers to take climate action in a frictionless way as they go about their daily lives,” said Baker. “Working with a global network of partners, we help brands strengthen customer relationships and loyalty. Shoppers have a deeper affinity with organizations that act on their shared commitment to sustainability.”

Brands of all sizes worldwide are using EcoCart to increase conversion rates and repeat purchases. A premium skin care product organization boosted repeat purchase rates by 50%. A fast-growing plant-based nutritional supplements company increased online cart conversions by 22%. One sustainable furniture company’s average order value (AOV) skyrocketed by 38%.

Shoppers love one-click carbon offsets

Consumer interest in sustainability is climbing. Deloitte predicted consumer purchases of carbon offsets will total a nearly $100 billion market in developed economies by 2030.

In fact, a carbon offset value chain has emerged, comprising project sponsors, certification bodies, and brokers that sell the projects to offset purchasers. EcoCart often works directly with project sponsors, but also contracts with offset brokers to make high-volume, cost-efficient arrangements. The company’s app collects and analyzes data from the project and retailer to calculate and offset the carbon footprint of a consumer’s purchase. The algorithm factors in a number of variables impacting emissions including shipping distance, package weight, and product type.

“Consumers have the opportunity to take climate change action as they shop,” said Baker. “They can immediately see on the e-commerce site the certified carbon footprint of the product they’ve selected and how it was calculated. They can decide to offset the product’s carbon emissions by contributing to the brand’s projects.”

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Brands can select from a portfolio of offset projects, choosing one that most aligns with their corporate ethos. These include protecting forests, wetlands, and endangered animals. They could involve infrastructure such as building sustainable energy infrastructure like windfarms that create local jobs, or purification facilities for efficient access to safe drinking water in communities. Typical carbon offsets are 1% to 2% of AOV.

Entrepreneurial roots in sustainable business

Baker is a self-described serial entrepreneur focused on sustainability. He co-founded EcoCart partly based on learnings from his latest venture launching an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace for items like kayaks and surfboards.

“All the companies that I’ve started share a similar thread of trying to make the world a better place in some way, shape, or form,” he said. “Our mission is to make the fight against climate change easy and affordable so that everyone can have the opportunity to do their part.”

Deep partnerships have business merit

EcoCart participated in the Sustainability in Retail and Consumer Industries cohort of SAP.iO Foundry New York, the company’s global network of B2B startup accelerators. Baker said his team was inspired by the strength of SAP’s partnerships with brands.

“SAP does an incredible job of leaning into its relationships with retailers and brands. We gained a greater appreciation for the importance of strong partnerships,” said Baker. “It was immensely valuable to get exposure to all of these world-class organizations. We evolved our go-to-market strategies based on their business priorities, particularly sustainability.”

EcoCart, which integrates with SAP Commerce Cloud, is available on the SAP Store.

Progressing from carbon offsets to climate positive

EcoCart’s popularity reflects rising market demand to address climate change. The percentage of consumers that choose to make their purchase carbon-neutral at checkout has grown from 4% at the start of the company’s launch to 28% today. Baker said that some brands and their consumers are going beyond carbon offsets, increasing contributions for climate positive impact.

“The beauty of climate positive is that brands are taking a stand, communicating to the market that we are trying to leave the world in a better place than we found it,” he said.

Learn more about the SAP.iO Foundries program supporting B2B technology startups worldwide.