Top Sustainable E-Commerce Businesses You Can Start


Sustainability and accessibility – the two main reasons why people enter agricultural businesses. But how would it turn out if you did it online?

In the Philippines, some commodities could be better options for selling than others. In this article, you’ll find the products you’ll most likely stumble upon. All you know is that it’s largely affordable and sustainable – so what now? What products should you use to get the business going and ensure it will last?

This assessment uses the following criteria, judging for a rating scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest:

  • Popularity: How well-known is this product in the Philippines, compared to the other commodities on the list?
  • Versatility: What kinds of products can you make with this commodity?
  • Practicality: If you’re going to start from scratch, what kind of materials would you need to make your business last? Is it hard to access? How risky could the business be compared to the other commodities on the list?

Here are the top commodities produced in the country:

1.     Rice

Popularity: 5 out of 5

Seemingly the most obvious choice of the bunch, rice is one of if not the most famous commodities in the local market. However, the ongoing trend for more famous skincare brands might overpower your business at a trying time.

Versatility: 3 out of 5

Aside from straw hats and husks, rice isn’t famous for anything other than food. Some vendors switch to rice-derived hygienic byproducts like hair products, face washes, and liquid shower soaps. This could also be an opportunity to sell well-beloved kakanin in your area.

Practicality: 3 out of 5

This is a risky one. Almost every Filipino household is bound to have rice, which could make your products easier to imitate. You should do a lot of research for the substances you’ll use alongside its byproducts, or your costumers won’t see the point in buying them in the first place.

2.     Corn

Popularity: 3 out of 5 stars

Local corn isn’t as popular as the other options. However, a lot of other countries are diving into the corn-based trend to make inedible products you can deliver anywhere. Out of the five options here, it’s this commodity that could catch the most attention.

Versatility: 4 out of 5 stars

Most people don’t realize how much potential one cob has for everyday items. It’s applicable for various functions ranging between drywall and cosmetics. While many products use corn extract for their products, using this commodity as the main ingredient is bound to garner attention.

Practicality: 4 out of 5 stars

If you’re looking to start a corn business, it’s better to start as sooner than later. Corn is one of the few safest grains to import and export even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides as its prices continue to lower against other commodities.

3.     Coconut

Popularity: 4 out of 5

The Philippines is the second world leader in coconut production. It’s also the country’s leading export around the world. Needless to say, it’s also one of the most famous commodities we have. It has one less star only because of its popularity in the Philippines when compared to rice.

Versatility: 2 out of 5

Next to its array of edible options, coconut is well-known for external benefits for the body, as well. Coconut milk is used for many beauty products everywhere, which could both give you an advantage against other commodities and a disadvantage over a lot of competition.

Practicality: 2 out of 5

Although the fibers of a coconut husk can be used on multiple items, just like rice, you may have to use special equipment for it. Coconut isn’t the best idea for DIY projects unless you plan to make piggy banks for a very long time.

4.     Sugarcane

Popularity: 2 out of 5

Although sugarcane is one of the world’s largest crops, it’s also one of the least prominent of the bunch. It’s widely undervalued.

Sugarcane is one of the world’s largest crops, but it grows best in tropical, hot, sunny areas.

Versatility: 1 out of 5

Although sugarcane, or sugar, is undeniably good for any dessert, there’s not much else to do with it for an online business exclusively. Unless you plan to experiment on its other byproducts like molasses, press mud, and trash, this product won’t do you much good online.

Practicality: 1 out of 5

Out of all the products on this list, you may want to use this one the least. Online businesses are usually for the layman, which can only inflate the risk for your business in the long-term. If you plan on doing more of this famous commodity, now may be the best time to do more research.

5.     Pineapples

Popularity: 1 out of 5

Out of all the products in the bunch, people buy pineapples the least. It doesn’t make it any less popular than most other commodities, though – it’s largely known for its fibers’ byproduct: the historical, classic Barong Tagalog.

Versatility: 5 out of 5

When compared to the other commodities pineapples might be the most ideal to produce for an online business. In fact, there’s a high-end Filipino company that uses pineapple fiber as a leather alternative, producing a variety of products like bags and shoes.

Practicality: 5 out of 5

Proven by its versatility, there’s a lot you can do with pineapples. But like coconut, this commodity may require special, expensive equipment to mass produce. Handmade products with threads similar to formal Filipino wear would automatically cost much higher than more prominent brands.

The Obvious Catch

Realistically, sustainable products and its manufacturing is most likely going to be pricy.

This is because organic farming avoids using chemicals such as pesticides, which in turn requires much more labor-intensive tasks to replace it. Naturally, its price reflects the amount of chemicals it contains, or lack thereof, because farm owners must keep workers well-paid in safe working conditions.

By the rule of supply and demand, more supply will eventually pull these lower. If you start now, you can still sell your products for the same expensive price in the future while buying more affordable produce to start them with.