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Sometimes, a solution offers up benefits for everyone involved. That seems to be the case for a recent initiative adopted by Amazon, called Give Back Box, which addresses issues related to environmental waste, corporate social responsibility, and shipping costs in one move.

Specifically, the program gives consumers a meaningful way to reuse the shipping boxes in which they receive their many Amazon purchases. Simply reusing them helps cut down on some of the massive waste associated with the growth of e-commerce. But the solution goes further, because it allows consumers to fill the boxes with unwanted items. By printing out a label on Amazon’s Give Back Box site, they can have the boxes shipped to the Goodwill facility that is nearest their home. Goodwill pays the shipping costs, then prepares the received goods for sale in its stores.

Other retailers, including Newegg, Levi’s, and Overstock.com already have partnered with Give Back Box, but the sheer size of Amazon’s customer base suggests that the latest partnership may change the game.

For Amazon, the move gives it a way to address accusations of environmental waste, associated with the millions of cartons it ships to consumers. It also avoids additional shipping costs, because Goodwill picks up that tab. For Goodwill, the initiative promises to increase donations substantially. In turn, the charity can expand its efforts and reach. For consumers, Give Back Box makes it easy to get rid of outdated or unwanted items, while they also enjoy the warm glow that comes from donating to a worthy cause.

 Discussion Questions:

  1. What is Amazon’s Give Back Box program?
  2. Why has Amazon implemented this program?
  3. Do you think it is a good idea? Why or why not?

Source: Matthew Stern, Retail Wire, January 3, 2017