How eBay Uses its Website to Drive Sustainability and Innovation

How eBay Uses its Website to Drive Sustainability and Innovation

Last week, we unveiled a new and improved that we hope will serve as a one-stop destination for all things green at eBay. With the re-launch of the site, we have introduced several new features: more and better social functionality so that buyers, sellers and employees can engage with us and with each other; more content from us and guest bloggers; and all the information our partners and stakeholders could need about what we are doing as a company to extend our green commitments.

But so what? New websites are a dime a dozen in Silicon Valley, and our community expects us to continually develop and roll out new features. What we haven't shared until now -- and what makes this so important to us on the eBay Green Team -- is that, with the help of our scrappy team of developers, we are continuing to use sustainability as a driver of innovation at eBay writ large.

Take, for instance, the social features we have just rolled out on green.ebay. Never before have eBay users been able to generate their own content and connect with each other like they are now able to do through our green hub -- by recommending greener alternatives, sharing their favorite green eBay picks in individually-designed eco-shopping lists, or suggesting tips and tricks that others can try. This functionality is first-of-its-kind for us and now something the rest of the company will be able to use, iterate and advance. Like the Instant Sale and Patagonia Common Threads initiatives that have come before it, the green.ebay re-design process has also demonstrated the power of green to drive innovation here at eBay -- with our community and partners, and in our business overall.

We have also learned throughout all our programs that our new ideas are only as good as the beta experiences we build prove them to be. Instead of begging the business for attention and resources like some corporate sustainability operations, we are instead leveraging eBay's entrepreneurial culture to create a "sustainability sandbox," or a space where we can develop and test new ideas that can actually drive business impact.

Our small but extremely talented team of engineers is able to build and roll out concepts quickly, and we continually rely on our highly engaged and active community of green buyers and sellers to collect feedback and help us evolve the experiences to their next phase. In fact, less than a week after relaunch, we are already in planning meetings for the next version of the green.ebay site.

The past year has been a transformative one for us at eBay, and last week's roll-out of the re-imagined was the just the start of another exciting year. For us, green has been an engine for innovation: by continuing to develop new, green solutions, we have been able to drive better customer experiences and stronger business performance.

Our hope is that even more companies will recognize this idea and that eBay -- with all our successes and challenges -- can help others better understand the power of green and the importance of meaningfully engaging their customers and employees. Be sure to let us know what you think.