Every Little Bit

No matter who we are, what identifies us, or how high our dreams and ambitions soar, we all share something very important in common. We are all a part of planet Earth.

This jewel that we call home is small and huge and scary and peaceful and strong and vulnerable all at the same time. Human beings are inextricably intertwined with this world, and our relationship with the environment is complex. If we want to peacefully co-exist on this planet, it's important that we all do our part to take care of it.

Looking back on another successful year at Green Ninja, it's amazing to see our growth and accomplishments. We've achieved record sales to many satisfied customers, our eco-friendly catalog continues to expand, and our collection of helpful tips is referenced daily. We have received a lot of praise for our rewards points program, and our referral program has introduced Green Ninja to users who may not have found us otherwise. A sincere Thank You to everyone who helped make this possible, especially our repeat customers. You guys rock!

And while this is all fantastic for our fellow human beings, we figured it was time to do something special for the planet that we all call home.

So we came up with a simple invitation to extend to all of our customers: offer to combine small contributions together and Tread Lightly on the planet while collectively reducing our environmental footprint. We're excited to officially announce our new Carbon Offset program, an easy way for our customers to offset the climate impact of shipping their Green Ninja orders.

Including a small amount to offset the shipping of an individual order doesn't seem like much in isolation. But when we combine our contributions together the value grows to an impressive size, and both you and the planet will feel great.

What's that you say - "offset my Green Ninja order and feel great?"

Let's unpack this bold statement like the unboxing of a well-packaged Green Ninja shipment.

What is a carbon offset?
A carbon offset refers to a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for an emission made elsewhere. It's a way to turn something negative (e.g. the environmental impact caused by shipping a package) into a positive (e.g. funding the development of shipping technology that uses green energy). Carbon offset programs are often used by larger businesses and governments, but they are starting to find their way to individual consumers as well: you may have seen the option to carbon offset the environmental impact of a flight when you purchase a plane ticket.
Aren't these programs something only big companies and stores offer?
While it's true that big companies are more likely to carbon offset, we all share this planet, and so we all face the same challenges. As consumers, we have become desensitized to the impact traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have on the environment: electricity, heating, cooling, parking. All of these factors add to the burden placed on our fragile planet, and as stewards of this planet we should all do our part to reduce these burdens, not increase them.
Right, but does an online business have to worry about carbon emissions?
Yes, Green Ninja operates as an online business, which helps immensely. But while there is no store to power, heat, cool, and no parking lot to maintain, we do ship a lot of packages. A lot of packages. Every day we leave a wagon-full of orders at the post-office counter, and what happens afterwards definitely has an impact on the environment. The amount of energy required to get your package from us to you is not something that can be dismissed. Our shipments affect our environment.
But according to your sustainability statement, aren't you already being eco-friendly?
We only carry products that are eco-friendly - that's the whole reason we operate Green Ninja. However, until the day comes when you can teleport a package, we will continue to rely on shipping to send orders to our customers. We do our best to minimize the packaging, and we offer pick-up for local customers. But there is still so much of the existing shipping infrastructure that can be improved.
Shipping with drones, that does sounds cool. Until that happens, where do you get these offsets?
We've decided to use a Canadian company called Carbonzero to handle our offset purchases. They ranked amongst the top companies in a report from the Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation entitled Purchasing Carbon Offsets: A Guide for Canadian Consumers, Businesses and Organizations. We like that they're super easy to work with and very transparent in handling the projects they fund and their offset registry.
And do I have to use Carbonzero to offset my orders?
No, we look after the Carbonzero part for you. After selecting the shipping method for an order, Green Ninja customers are invited to offset the impact of their order shipment for a small amount. This amount is pegged to the Postal Code / Zip Code for the order, so the further the shipment has to travel, the higher the amount. The amounts are small, ranging from $0.05 for local orders up to $0.15 to far away places like Alaska. Choosing to offset a shipment is 100% completely optional and the customer is free to offset their order or not. We've been running it unofficially for a few weeks now and during that time over half of our customers have chosen to offset their shipping. We believe this is a worthy investment, and we would like to see this ratio increase.
OK so far. So if I decide to offset my order, what happens next?
Once a month we collect all the individual offset contributions and combine them together to purchase an offset with Carbonzero. We've put up a graph that you can see where the purchases are recorded. There is also a spot where you can verify the individual Carbon offset reference for an order with Green Ninja has been collected and included in an offset made with Carbonzero.
Seems easy enough. What's in it for me?
That's where things get interesting. Offsets encourage an important discussion on how to modify our behaviour and improve our infrastructure to support a healthier planet. Acknowledging that it takes a lot of energy to get a package from point A to point B is a good place to start, but participation in our new offset program is and always will be completely optional. Down the road we may open up promotions and give-aways to customers who have chosen to offset the shipping of their Green Ninja order. But we want this program to be something that everybody takes advantage of. We fully expect that by including a few extra pennies to offset the shipment your order, helping fund a worthy cause like building more energy-efficient social housing projects in Montreal, will also bring you peace of mind.
So you're saying that I'll feel better, and so will the planet?

It's sounds so simple, but as a small business who is experiencing tremendous growth, we are convinced that strength lies in numbers. This planet will continue to exist with or without our involvement. But given an opportunity to help improve our home, even a small opportunity, we will happily take it.

Every little bit.