(Corrects editing error in paragraph 7 to show data applies to United States, not Etsy)
By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Online crafts retailer Etsy Inc will go green by offsetting planet-warming carbon emissions from its shipping activities, the U.S. company said on Wednesday, joining a host of companies making public moves to battle climate change.
Etsy will buy clean energy certificates supporting tree conservation in the United States, wind and solar power in India and clean automotive technology, it said.
The online marketplace for buying and selling handmade and vintage goods said its initiative is the first time a global e-commerce company has made such a move.
“Fast, free shipping ultimately comes at a cost to our planet,” wrote Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of the New York-based company in a blog on the company’s website.
The certificates are a way for companies to offset the amount of carbon dioxide they produce by paying for projects that support clean development.
The 13-year-old Etsy said its greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in 2018 totaled about 135,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, similar to those of 29,000 cars in a year.
About 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent are released each day from the delivery of all packages ordered from online retailers in the United States alone, it said.
Last month, at the U.S. Super Bowl championship game, giant beer maker Budweiser helped purchase clean energy certificates to offset greenhouse gas emissions linked to fans’ travel and the host city of Atlanta.
More than 100 U.S. companies have committed to setting emission-reduction targets that seek to limit rising temperature to 2 degrees Celsius as part of a United Nations-backed initiative, said Sabrina Helm, who heads the Consumers, Environment & Sustainability Initiative, a research group at the University of Arizona.
Online retailers have largely been absent from those efforts, and Etsy’s move sends a “very important signal,” she said.
“A lot of online retailers are not particularly transparent in what they do in terms of sustainability,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Last week, online retail giant Amazon.com Inc said it planned to make its carbon footprint public for the first time this year.
Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers climate change, humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking and property rights. Visit news.trust.org/climate