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Mon June 27 2022 09:47:54

Should Etsy Allow Sellers to Add a Sustainability Designation?

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy is considering allowing sellers to designate their products as "sustainable," which the marketplace would then promote on its homepage (and elsewhere) by adding a new shopping category. But which types of seller would it help the most?

Etsy conducted a survey this month in which it told sellers it had ideas for helping them highlight certain information about their products related to sustainability.

Most of the terms it listed as possible designations were generic, such as "Organic Ingredients" or "Vegan," but two were terms that indicated sellers had gone further by actually certifying their items: "Leaping Bunny certified" and "FSC-certified wood."

Etsy was also interested in learning about the certifications sellers might have obtained for their items. For example, with regard to items containing organic ingredients, Etsy asked sellers if their products met any certifications such as COSMOS Organic certified, Organic Content Standard Blended, or USDA Organic, among others.

It keyed in on nine sustainability terms, asking respondents, "If Etsy made it possible to indicate these kind of sustainability attributes to buyers, how likely would you be to do so," listing the following options:

- Recycled content (i.e. metal, paper, polyester, nylon)
- Reusable
- Plastic free
- Organic ingredients
- Upcycled
- Vegan
- FSC-certified wood
- Leaping Bunny certified
- Organic cotton

Etsy asked respondents where they would like those designations to appear, providing the following options:

- As an Editor's Pick, or other curated marketing space
- As a filter they can apply when browsing
- In my shop
- As a shoppable category from the homepage
- In the item listing
- As a badge on item thumbnails in search
- At checkout
- In Google ads
- Other

The survey also asked Etsy sellers why they might choose to highlight sustainability attributes, providing options such as conveying item quality, making it easier for buyers to find the information, to make more sales, and to make a positive change in the world.

Etsy appears to consider eBay, Amazon, Artfire, and Bonanza its competitors. In a question asking sellers to reveal which venues on which they sold their goods, it provided the following options from which to choose:

- To friends and family
- Other online sales platforms (e.g., eBay, Amazon, Artfire, Bonanza)
- A retail store I own or operate (physical store, not only a website)
- Consignment
- In-person events (e.g., craft fairs, flea markets, holiday events)
- Social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr)
- My own website (e.g. Squarepace, Shopify, WordPress, GoDaddy, Pattern)
- Wholesale (e.g., direct to stores, online wholesale markets, trade shows)
- Other (please specify)
 
The topic of certification could spark discussion among sellers about the advantage it could give to "resellers" (particularly those from overseas), whom many sellers of handmade and vintage goods believe have overrun the marketplace. And the advantage it could give big sellers versus small.

What do you think of making sustainable items more prominent on Etsy or elsewhere? Would it have any affect on the visibility of your listings on Etsy?

Comments (16) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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by: LDWCallsOut This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 27 12:02:44 2022

The majority of listings active on Etsy are already deceptive, so adding more unverifiable designations won't matter.  Etsy has allowed sellers to designate a listed item as ''recycled'' for years now.  Almost all items I've seen designated as ''recycled'' are factory fresh Asian imports made from new materials.  

LOL at the concept that Etsy sellers ''believe'' resellers have ''overrun the marketplace''.  Is it because Etsy insists that there are no ''long term resellers'' and forbids it in their House Rules that 100% reseller item shops with thousands of sales are like Big Foot or the Grays or some other X File?

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon Jun 27 16:57:10 2022

This is getting SO out of hand.....
Nothing makes Etsy appear more USELESS than this.
HEY ETSY ! ! !
Shut UP !
Sit down,
Let REAL business people take the helm.
'Cause, Etsy, you look and act like an a$$.

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by: pennyemporium This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 29 17:34:46 2022

i have no idea what "Leaping Bunny certified" even means, but it sounds a lot like the old Ebay standard of "carrot jumping".  

it's like Etsy hired a number of newbies who like to hand out participation stickers, like the "Star Seller" nonsense, rather than making the site useable.  

what about the "sustainability" of the actual Etsy marketplace, or the sellers, themselves?  nope, just more stickers.

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by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 29 18:36:18 2022

@pennyemporium ''i have no idea what ''Leaping Bunny certified'' even means, but it sounds a lot like the old Ebay standard of ''carrot jumping''.  This legit made me LOL. Thank you

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by: Plain1 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 00:39:37 2022

Absolutely NOT. I want the freedom to sell anything I choose. Period.

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by: gyanarthi This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 00:52:04 2022

I'm a vintage shop... does that make all my offerings "UPCYCLED" ??

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by: Stone Cutter This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 01:37:08 2022

*** It’s about the S&P 500 ***

As of 2020, Etsy is now a part of the Stock Index S&P 500. I found out just last week, on CNBC, that in order to qualify to be in the Stock Index, companies need to have a huge market cap plus they need to prove SUSTAINABILITY.

I suspect Etsy needs to prove that it’s company is concerned about the environment or they’ll be kicked out of the S&P 500. And with the recent huge decrease in their stock price, they may get kicked out anyway.

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by: an American in France This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 01:52:07 2022

I predict sellers will get — ahem — creative & abuse the system, much the way they currently do. For instance, in addition to physical items, I sell digital ones; can I label those items Sustainable?  

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by: Stone Cutter This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 02:07:20 2022

Investors pressure companies into sustainability...

https://miranda-partners.com/sustainability-r
eporting-in-the-sp-500/

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by: MIscetal This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 06:33:39 2022

I'm so tired of badges and designations and gimmicks.

How about fixing the dismal landing page and the messed up search?? I don't even shop the site anymore, and once my few bits of restaurant ware china are sold, I will be gone.

The fun is gone, and so is most of the money. They do not want to hear what sellers say, and they do not want to do what we need.

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by: I_Fix_Dolls This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 06:37:59 2022

There is no competition from Artfire. Artfire folded in 2021.
Like someone else said if Etsy would make it's site less glitchy, got rid of "Star Seller" , and had actual humans provide customer service for sellers, and quit acting like sellers are 6 year olds ( "How about a sticker, would that make you feel better about more fees and less sales?") it would improve Etsy.

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by: Queen of the Jungle This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 08:40:00 2022

Great comments all around and I especially agree with Stone Cutter about the outside influences like S&P 500 et al that are putting pressure on Etsy to be politically correct.

Although- as you wade through their never ending, virtue signaling hypocrisy, it's hard to believe that the rainbow coalition that runs the company hasn't already complied with every possible social construct that has nothing to do with actual e-commerce and selling.

Like others have said, enough with the gimmicks that do nothing except to make it harder for sellers to sell and buyers to buy.  

Sadly, I predict that things are only going to get worse as another generation of badly educated, illiterate buffoons take the helm and steer the ship into an iceberg.

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by: AnotherTime This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 09:40:12 2022

Once again, Etsy is jumping to the wrong beat. They have no way to validate such guidelines!
I did not join Etsy to have them define and run my antiques business. I choose them to be my platform.  Period.  IMHO they are failing their offer to merchants by not keeping the site operating at its best marketable potential.
The only help I want from Etsy is best tools for listing and visibility on the net and easy safe shopping for my customers.
Etsy.. don't set parameters you cannot control.  

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by: LDWCallsOut This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 09:50:44 2022

I'm not sure how Etsy comes across as ''politically correct'' or as being managed by a ''rainbow coalition''?  For more than a decade now Etsy has been shamelessly greenwashing various aspects of online selling, pretending that mailing packages of stuff that can be found in many local big box stores or boutiques is friendly to the environment.  Most of the items listed on Etsy are not unique to the site or to the shop selling them.  Every listing has that boilerplate about how Etsy is offsetting ''carbon emissions from shipping and packaging'', even though listings are often deceptive about where the seller is located, and the location it will be shipped from.  

Etsy has no reputation for being liberal or green or anything like that.  Etsy is a Made in China online superstore, just like eBay or Amazon, but with higher prices.  

Oh, and Vintage items are not ''upcycled'' on Etsy until they have been altered -- increasing their carbon footprint.  

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by: Stone Cutter This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 13:35:19 2022

On a side note...
This week, a group of Wall Street investors downgraded Etsy as a "hold" instead of a "buy". Their reasoning has much to do with inflationary pressures on consumers as well as a possible bad recession in the EuroZone due to Putins war on Ukraine.

A slow down in economic spending could really put a nail in Etsys' coffin and times like this is when Etsy may find a different CEO....maybe a leader who actually wants to create a unique platform instead of following a typical playbook like Ebay. One can hope....

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by: fusgeyer This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 30 15:40:33 2022

These designations are stupid because they cannot be verified. If using 100% organic cotton, how does the shop prove it to Etsy, or is it just "good faith" Our printed artwork is sustainable. Our shop is 100% solar powered and we generate more electricity than we use every month. There is nothing to show on Etsy that we are sustainable. If Etsy would have kept the B-Corp certification, they would not be scrambling now.



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