eBay Inc. is a leading global trading company that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world. Since its founding 25 years ago, eBay has made it possible to trade in used products and thus promotes the circular economy. eBay is a trading platform on which sellers also offer a variety of new products. As a company, it is aware of its own responsibility and has developed ambitious goals to significantly reduce its own emissions by 2030 and to rely 100 percent on renewable energy by 2025.
eBay Germany wants to contribute to climate protection in a transparent way and encourage its customers to join in. With the "CO2 Offset" initiative, users of the German online marketplace are given the opportunity to offset the CO2 footprint of products purchased on eBay by supporting certified climate protection projects from South Pole's portfolio when making a purchase.
Anyone who makes a purchase on eBay should be able to offset the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Doing so is an essential part of climate protection; in addition, CO2 offsetting is a recognized practice for taking responsibility for one's own carbon footprint. This requires a transparent and credible calculation. However, eBay's product range is too large and too diverse to accurately calculate the emissions of all products individually in detail.
In order to be able to represent the multitude of products sold on eBay, South Pole's experts modeled the emissions from the procurement of raw materials to delivery using "average products" within defined eBay categories. To model the "average product," they analyzed the best-selling products. Based on this analysis, the team defined an average weight representative of each product category and an emission factor. This now makes it possible to calculate a trustworthy emission amount per product, and buyers can offset the actual emissions of their purchase in over 800 different categories. Over the course of 2021, eBay Germany plans to expand the offering to further parts of the product range in order to cover the majority of all products offered on eBay.
We talked to Martin Vogel, Senior Director Electronics, APAC Imports & Innovation of eBay Germany, about this initiative and climate action at eBay in general.
In my private life, I would refer to 2020 as a year of "recollection." Instead of traveling around the world, I spent a great camping vacation in Germany, rediscovered home and took many walks in Brandenburg. In addition to these private impressions, we have of course also experienced many rapid innovations in our professional environment. At eBay, we've always been digital, but the constant home office, virtual meetings and events - that was a change for all of us. In terms of content, we reacted very quickly: It was foreseeable with the onset of the Corona crisis that local retail would have problems. That's why we set up an emergency program in March and recently created a digital marketplace model for local retail with " eBay Your City".
I try to take the positives with me. For example, I see an opportunity for the pandemic to promote sustainable and environmentally conscious living. We're already seeing that in our marketplace, and I think things like constant business travel are coming under scrutiny at work, too. I'm also inspired by how the traders in our marketplace have been tackling the crisis for many months and responding to it with creative solutions. For all of us at eBay, it's a daily motivation to work for a marketplace that is an important source of essential goods for buyers - and a way for merchants to stay "open" even during the lockdown.
So far, the response has been consistently positive. With 5,000 ratings, over 99 percent of which are positive, the rating profile is a great motivation to continue with our project and expand it step by step. We already have numerous ideas and plans, which we will implement in the coming months and years. A look at the data shows that, so far, the Mobile & Communications category has sold the most CO2 add-ons. Percentage wise, the categories with the most add ons are webcams, notebook batteries, headphones, toner cartridges, cell phones & smartphones.
We see that sustainability is becoming a bigger and bigger factor in purchasing decisions and at the same time price sensitivity is increasing among consumers due to the current economic situation. To do justice to both, we don't have to reinvent ourselves. Price-conscious shopping and the promotion of a sustainable circular economy have been part of eBay's DNA since the company was founded more than 25 years ago. That's why we are implementing numerous projects in this area. In addition to the cooperation with South Pole for CO2 offsetting, these include the establishment of a dedicated sustainability website with corresponding offers as well as our new B-Ware Center. It offers shoppers over three million price-reduced returns, demonstration units, used and refurbished products that are up to 50 percent cheaper than new. In this way, we bridge the gap between price awareness and sustainability. Finally, as a company, we have set ourselves ambitious goals and regularly review them.
We are proud to be the first horizontal marketplace to offer carbon offsetting. Working with South Pole enables our customers to take action themselves. It's simple, understandable and has certified impact.