Shipping carrier Sendle has made history. The Australian-based company is now carbon-neutral, in the process of becoming the first shipping carrier to do so. Sendle makes this possible by buying extra room on other carriers’ trucks for the deliveries of smaller businesses and buying carbon offsets for every package. With this setup, Sendle is able to provide a service that is both carbon-neutral and affordable.
This setup is novel and pioneering and was borne out of necessity. Sendle needed a reliable but affordable way to ship old goods that were being donated. Sendle co-founders James Bradfield Moody, Sean Geoghegan, and Craig Davis couldn’t find one, so they devised their own.
“We basically said, ‘Look, if we can help you fill your trucks, we can improve your density, which again, improves the efficiency of the system,’” explains Moody, who nonetheless admits that the system can’t accommodate clients looking for next-day deliveries. However, Sendle’s setup, according to Moody, is “the right mix of speed and cost,” and is perfect given how “sentiment is changing all over the world around climate change.”
No wonder business is booming for Sendle, which branched out to the U.S. last November after securing $19 million in funding in August due to a surge in demand. That’s on top of the $20 million Series B funding the company received in January last year that no doubt helped Sendle to scale in time for this year’s increased demand.
The fact that Sendle even made it this far is a testament to the leadership and creative geniuses behind the company. Overcoming the challenges of starting a delivery service in the U.S. given the market dominance of big, established couriers shows how the company’s message has resonated. Competition is fierce here in the U.S. as single-driver operations can make some $2,479 monthly, or up to $45,000 annually thanks to the millions of potential customers — 111.7 million in the online food industry alone — looking for a delivery service. That earning potential then increases with excellent service, and that is something Sendle has provided from the get-go.
And as Sendle’s success proves, securing a fleet of delivery vehicles isn’t the only way to tap into the enormous shipping carrier market. The company’s unique approach to delivery has allowed it to thrive in the industry, but without putting an additional strain on the environment by putting more carbon-emitting vehicles on the road. This decision to just rent delivery space rather than buy a fleet of vehicles is a deviation from industry norms, and was a gambit to say the least. But it is paying off handsomely, with Sendle ultimately partnering with ecommerce giant eBay in 2018 after 2 years of growing at 20% a month. This partnership is predicted to give Sendle upwards of 500,000 deliveries annually from eBay alone, in turn boosting the company’s customer base.
Sendle can expect business to pick up even more after becoming the first carbon-neutral shipping carrier in a world increasingly putting a premium on sustainability. Contributing to sustainable living is the prudent thing to do, and a unique selling point at the same time. Fortunately, more companies are doing their part, with Dow, for instance, recently introducing recycled plastic resin for shrink film applications. It’s an amazing feat of engineering, and is a breakthrough in sustainability similar to Sendle’s carbon-neutral delivery system.