Finnish consumers are becoming increasingly interested in sustainability. This impacts heavily the operations of businesses as more sustainable commerce requires sustainable actions from not only the consumer but also the vendor and the logistics operator.
When aiming to achieve sustainability, businesses should focus on selecting products from partners whose background they know. Selecting business partners that are able to prove the sustainability of their operations is an important factor in sustainable business. Moreover, the orders of the customers should be delivered with as small a carbon footprint as possible. The activewear and sportswear vendor Weekendbee.fi is a textbook example of such an online store.
Agile e-commerce without a fixed place of business
Weekendbee is an unusual business in many ways as this online store owned by Aissa Paronen and Jukka Saarikorpi has no fixed place of business. The adventurous couple’s original idea was to set up a store that would not be bound to any specific location.
“Our organizational model is small and agile; we manage our stock and marketing through external partners. This is a network-type organization that uses the best experts according to need,” explains Aissa Paronen.
The idea for the company came from Paronen and Saarikorpi’s decision to break away from their everyday life; in 2017, the couple quit their jobs and set out on a journey around the world. While travelling, they began to truly see the impact of environmental issues from melting glaciers to the overwhelming amount of litter. They felt the need to do something. In their outdoor sports activities, they had already noticed how difficult it was to find sustainably produced yet practical sportswear. In 2018, they founded Weekendbee, an online store solely focused on activewear and sportswear produced in an ecologically and ethically sustainable manner.
Aissa Paronen and Jukka Saarikorpi founded the Weekendbee online store in 2018.
“Verifying the sustainability of a piece of clothing takes considerable effort. We always investigate the background of each product before selecting them for our store. Our criteria includes the use of recycled and natural materials, environmentally friendly and ethical production and the absence of environmentally hazardous PFC compounds,” says Paronen.
“We chose Posti as our primary delivery partner because their transportation is 100% carbon neutral. Posti pays a great deal of attention to packaging materials to ensure that they are ecological and reusable,” says Jukka Saarikorpi.
Exceptional circumstances require a quick response and safe delivery options
At the moment, Paronen and Saarikorpi are managing their business from Spain where the avid nature lovers now have to stay firmly indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of their customers are facing the same situation; the exceptional circumstances force people to spend time at home, increasing the popularity of online shopping.
“The pandemic hasn’t impacted our sales much. Versatile, relaxed sportswear designed for indoor and outdoor use is perhaps slightly more popular than usual at the moment. Luckily, our deliveries are running normally; there’s an ongoing flux of freight and parcels,” says Paronen.
Consumers are worried about the reliability and safety of deliveries. The online store must be able to confirm that the orders are delivered safely and as agreed.
“As people’s movement is now restricted and it may be difficult to pick up deliveries from pick-up points, we decided to offer our customers home deliveries, in the form of the Posti Home Parcel, at the price of pick-up point deliveries. The customers appreciate Posti for delivering their orders safely and contact-free, and many have chosen the Home Parcel as the delivery method,” says Saarikorpi.
The Home Parcel service was recently developed to enable the recipient to select the delivery time that best suits their schedule. This ensures that the parcel is delivered when most convenient for the customer.
Sustainability discussion to be expanded in the future
The Towards sustainable e-commerce survey commissioned by Posti in 2019 revealed that the lifecycle impacts of products are very similar, regardless of the manner of purchase.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in sustainability, and more extensive discussion is yet to come. Many are thinking about streamlining the use of their time and their consumption and wanting to support Finnish entrepreneurs,” says Noomi Jägerhorn, Head of Sustainability at Posti.
“It’s the duty of an online retailer to provide information for its customers about the sustainability of the product and the brand. Posti, in turn, is committed to promoting sustainable e-commerce. We are constantly planning new, more environmentally-friendly operating methods in cooperation with online retailers,” says Jägerhorn.