If you follow environmental issues, there's no doubt your e-mail inbox has been filled with messages in recent days and weeks. It's Earth Day, Earth Month, green season. One message that caught my eye, though, was an announcement from Overstock.com that it will now be offering carbon-neutral shipping under a partnership with the Carbonfund.org Foundation. Oh, it must just be for Earth Day. No, it's from now on. Well then there must be a catch. Sure: This only applies to purchases from the big O's Worldstock Fair Trade inventory. OK, that's something to support. But how much extra does it cost? Nothing extra. Overstock.com is famous for low prices and $2.95 shipping on your entire order (which can sometimes take as long as goods delivered by horseback, in my experience). The site has just launched carbon-neutral shipping for every purchase from Worldstock, with no extra charge. A good idea for guilt-free gifts?
The inventory carries handcrafted products from artisans in more 60 countries and up to 70 percent of the cost is returned to the artisans. To date, Overstock.com says more than $60 million has been returned to Worldstock's artisan suppliers.
Under the partnership with Carbonfund.org, Overstock.com will fund third-party validated carbon reduction programs, like reforestation, to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from the trucks that deliver the items to your doorstep.
If think offsets are a legitimate way of curbing carbon emissions, then place your order. Carbonfund.org has more than 1,800 business and nonprofit partners including Discovery, Motorola, Amtrak, Dell, JetBlue, Virgin America and Staples.
On the other hand, if the World Fair Trade inventory is Overstock.com's socially responsible department, then what is the rest of the site? Also, the Carbonfund.org introduced carbon-free shipping back in 2006, with other smaller retailers. That took a while.
Company reps say the site's new carbon-neutral shipping program makes Overstock.com "one of the largest online retailers to take responsibility for the environmental impact of its product shipping program."
Will you be shopping at Worldstock anytime soon?