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Etsy will offset its sellers' carbon emissions free of charge

For every item purchased, Etsy will buy emissions reductions to offset the impact of shipping.
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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Most of us have accepted one-click shopping as the new norm. But what we tend to forget is how much CO2 is generated by that one click. In the US, 55,000 metric tons of CO2 are produced daily as a result of online shopping package delivery, and online retailers like Etsy are working to address that. Today, Etsy announced it will offset 100 percent of its shipping-generated carbon emissions, making it the first major online shopping platform to do so.

Etsy has a unique challenge in that 98 percent of its total shipping emissions result from items shipped directly from sellers to buyers. In most cases, it's up to the seller to handle shipping and that won't change, but now Etsy will buy verified emissions reductions for every item purchased, through a third party, 3Degrees. These credits don't directly counter emissions but support green projects, including wind and solar farms in India and forest conservation in Minnesota.

The change comes at no additional cost to buyers or sellers, and it's a minimal cost to Etsy. "Considering these offsets will cost less than one penny per package for Etsy, we don't believe that cost should be a prohibitive factor for others to follow in our footsteps," the company wrote in a blog post.

Amazon may not be anywhere close to offsetting its shipping emissions, but the retail giant announced earlier this month that it wants half of its shipments to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Given the size of Amazon, in comparison to Etsy, it will, understandably, take more time to right the ship.

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