Moving our products from source to store to customer is a necessary evil, so we're trying to do it in the least harmful way, maximizing efficiency, reducing waste, and minimizing negative impacts.
what we think
If we had a mantra in this area it would be: Ship Efficiently. Ship as infrequently as possible, the shortest distance that is reasonable. And ship in the least impactful way available. We encourage customers to combine orders and avoid expediting their order unless they really need to.
what we're doing
fabrics to factories
As a globally sourced company, we try to maximize efficiency, starting at the raw materials level. We strive to keep production as close to the source of our fabrics as possible. For example, when we have fabrics developed and manufactured in Japan, we try to manufacture products from that fabric in Asia, rather than ship it to Europe, or some other more distant factory location.
ocean vs. air
We ship our clothing from our manufacturing facilities to the U.S. via ocean transport, which is far more energy efficient than shipping by air. Our goal is to ship this way 100% of the time.
manufacturing to distribution center
Order visibility is one of the great improvements in international shipping in the last 20 years. We have extensive visibility to our manufacturing orders that are ready for shipment to our distribution center. This helps us to make decisions to hold and consolidate orders when appropriate, which allows us to manage our transportation efficiently by reducing the number of shipments per season and consolidating cargo at its point of origin by placing orders with same shipping dates. As an importer Nau has worked aggressively to take advantage of this technology, and is currently well ahead of numerous more established companies in implementing supply chain visibility from time of booking manufacturing orders to receipt of them in our distribution center.
distribution center to customer
We ship our customers' purchases in shipping envelopes that are made from up to 50% post-consumer recycled content materials, and that are designed to be reused, either in the event of a return/exchange, or for other shipping needs. We made this decision based on the results of a study commissioned by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The study analyzed over 20 packaging options and found that shipping items in envelopes resulted in the least environmental impact, including lower consumption of fossil fuels, less solid waste generated, and lower emissions.
customer shipping choices: ground vs. air
We encourage our customers to choose ground shipping whenever possible. Expedited airfreight generally uses six times more energy than ground shipping. We do not use shipping as a primary profit center, choosing to make the most environmentally friendly shipping option (ground) the most economical in an effort to discourage resource-intensive air shipping except when truly necessary.
We offer air shipping, despite its high environmental impact, because our business model is based on the ideas of customer choice and education. To compete in the current market, we need to offer customers the choices they are used to. However, to make change we need to take all available opportunities to educate people about the impacts of their decisions, part of why you're reading this in the first place!
The need to utilize shipping as a key part of our enterprise is not going away. Going forward, we'll continue to examine our decisions around shipping, evaluate new and emerging options, and evolve our practices in ways that can further our efforts to reduce the impact of our business.
there's always more to learn:
Center for Energy & Climate Solutions:
SmartWay Transport Partnership Program:
tell us what you think: