A couple in the forest holding hands and looking up
A couple in the forest holding hands and looking up

Free Returns Aren't Free for the Planet

One side effect of the pandemic is that we’ve all been doing more online shopping. And that means more freight, and more carbon emissions to get those packages to our doors.

At KEEN, we’re constantly looking at ways to reduce our impact in this process. In the last few years, we’ve re-thunk our packaging. We now have about 20 different shoebox sizes, so we don’t have to put a pair of size 6 shoes in the same size box as a 12. And we’ve also started boxless shoe shipping. (Because who wants to ship air?!) Less cubic volume equals more shoes in a single shipping container for less carbon impact. Through these efforts, we’ve had an almost 50 percent reduction of ocean-going freight containers.

It’s a step, and every step helps, but we want to do more. One way we hope to reduce our impact further is with fewer returns. According to Earth911, up to 30 percent of all online purchases are returned. And in 2020, two-thirds of shoppers bought more than one size of the same item with the intention of returning one (aka “bracketing”).

When you think about it, return shipping doubles the amount of carbon dioxide emissions of every online order. In the U.S., it adds up to about 15 million metric tons every year. That’s not the kind of math we like. So the more we can do to help our fans narrow down their choices before ordering, the less likely they’ll need to return a pair. And the happier the planet will be! Here’s how we can make a difference together:

5 Ways to Reduce Returns and Their Impact

1. Measure to find your size. Sizing tools, like our Size Guide and Fit Predictor, can help you avoid “bracketing” or ordering two sizes. Look for them featured on every product page at keenfootwear.com.
2. Read reviews to see if a certain style is running big or small, or chat with fit experts.
3. Consolidate online shopping. You can reduce your impact on the front end by bundling purchases. Create a list and order once, rather than placing multiple orders.
4. Sell or donate unwanted sizes/styles locally. If ordering multiple sizes is unavoidable, see if friends or neighbors are interested in unwanted items before shipping them back.
5. Offset your carbon footprint. There are a number of carbon offset programs that can help you offset the impact of online shopping.

Feet come first at KEEN, but we care just as much about our footprint. Thanks for helping us step a little lighter!

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