Disposable plastic bags are among the world’s great environmental scourges. First introduced in 1977, an estimated 1 trillion bags are used each year around the globe—1 million a minute—with only a tiny fraction of them recycled.
The bulk of plastic bag waste ends up in landfills, oceans and other bodies of water, and littered across the landscape, taking up to 1,000 years to decompose. Hundreds of thousands of turtles, seals, birds and other animals die each year as a result. In the U.S. alone, retailers spend $4 billion annually on plastic bags. Bag manufacturers require an estimated 12 million barrels of oil a year just to support America’s plastic bag addiction.
Founded in 1989, Eco-Bags Products, Inc. is doing its part to mitigate the damage. The Ossining, N.Y- based company is a pioneer in sustainably sourced bags of cotton and other environmentally responsible materials. From small beginnings, the ECOBAGS Brand of products is sold through thousands of retailers in the U.S. such as Whole Foods and The Fresh Market, across a dozen countries in Europe and Asia and via their webstore as branded retail & promotional products.
Eco-Bags Products also sells bags through its direct-to-consumer website (www.ecobags.com) and has built a large business in producing custom bags for trade shows and corporate customers, all while sourcing its bags under fair trade and labor practices from manufacturers overseas and in the U.S.
NetSuite has been a key element behind Eco-Bags Products’ rapid growth. Implemented in 2004, the integrated cloud business solution has given Eco-Bags Products far greater efficiency, visibility and control than it could have achieved with its previous QuickBooks and related applications.
Becoming a certified B Corporation for its sustainable, eco-friendly business practices in 2010, Eco-Bags Products took advantage of free and discounted licensing through the NetSuite.org corporate citizenship program available to qualified nonprofits and B Corporations.
“NetSuite.org has been amazing in supporting our eco-responsible mission,” said Sharon Rowe, Eco-Bags Products CEO. “With the discount, we were able to stay focused on what we’re all about—sustainability and social responsibility.”
By reducing its software and IT expenses, Eco-Bags Products is able to pass on savings to consumers, helping to promote greater use of reusable bags. The company is also saving with greater internal productivity in such areas as sales, financial and inventory management across four warehouses in New York, Connecticut and California. An electronic data interchange (EDI) solution from NetSuite partner B2BGateway automates transactions with large retail customers.
“NetSuite has enabled us to run extremely efficiently so we can focus on customers and grow the business,” said Rowe. “We needed integration and wanted it all in one package that we could use from wherever we are in the world. Reporting with NetSuite is very robust so we’re able to determine what the trends are and where to focus the business for the best returns.”