NativesOutdoors' 2017 Environmental Impact Statement
We believe in being transparent in the environmental impact that our products have. Toward this goal we took the time to audit our supply chain and the methods that we use to manufacture & sell our products to ensure that we take full responsibility for the entire lifecycle. We will continue to update this page as we assess our impact.
How we did it
We used the Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) model using internal sales numbers to estimate approximate impacts of five ares: (1) Greenhouse gas emissions; (2) Criteria air pollutants; (3) Water withdrawals; (4) Land Transformation; and (5) Toxic releases (coming soon). This approach to environmental impact assessment provides a general ball-park range of environmental impact and can has a number of uncertainties. However this approach provides a good "first-cut" analysis.
Here's what we found
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In 2017, we generated around 6.4 tons of CO2 equivalent from the manufacturing and sales of our products - this is the equivalent of burning 650 gallons of gasoline. The release of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the primary and single most important driver of climate change. These emissions was driven by our line of technical trucker hats & shirts. Shipping materials & postage combined represents the third largest source of emissions. The number of sales drives all of these numbers.
Criteria Air Pollutants
Air pollution can have damaging effects on the environment and human health. Unlike greenhouse gas emissions, these pollutants are often localized to the areas where they are released. The largest source of our emissions was driven by our technical trucker hats, shirts, and shipping.
Each step of manufacturing, from base materials to a finished product, uses water. Withdrawals mean that water is used and then returned to its source. These withdrawals can change the temperature of the water or introduce pollutants that can harm ecosystems. In total our products and their shipment resulted in around 200,000 gallons of water - this is about 1/3 of an olympic sized swimming pool.
Transformation of land for the use of land for crops, for example, and other activities that support the manufacture of our products can alter biochemical, hydrological, cycles, and can affect the climate system. Our products led to the transformation of about 0.001 hectare of land - about 100 square feet.
The amount of toxic releases from our products was small however as we scale our business this will be critical to track. The process of dyeing & screen printing our products is a significant source of these emissions.
What we learned
You can't change what you aren't measuring - we knew our products had an impact despite our best efforts to ensure we provided ones with the lowest impact. We believe that this is an important step for all companies to take if they truly care about the environment.
What we plan to do in 2018
Ensuring our supply chain tracks & mitigates environmental impacts
- Finalize & implement supplier selection criteria - including environmental and societal sustainability impacts
- Ensure that all our suppliers are ISO 14001 certified
Continue to sell high quality products made from sustainable sources & educating our customers
- Continue to sell 100% organic cotton products.
- Transition to manufacturers who use Oeko-Tex Standard 100 dyes.
- Continue to sell high quality products, that last longer, at an affordable price. The most sustainable NativesOutdoors product is the one in your closet.
- Begin trial program to purchase back old NativesOutdoor clothing for recycling or resale.
- Provide educational material about clothes washing to minimize undo wear on products.
Tweaking the way we do shipping & fulfillment
- Aggregating shipments from suppliers where possible
- Minimize packaging for products & ensure product packaging is manufactured from 100% post consumer content
- Eliminate current use of 100% recycled poly-mailers
Corporate Social Responsibility
- Matthews, H. S. (1999). The external costs of air pollution and the environmental impact of the consumer in the US economy. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. Graduate School of Industrial Administration: Pittsburgh, PA.
- Carnegie Mellon University Green Design Institute. (2018) Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) US 2002 (428 sectors) Producer model[Internet], Available from: <http://www.eiolca.net/> [Accessed 27 Mar, 2018]
- EPA Greenhouse Gasses Equivalency