Our Focus on Sustaining the Environment
We do our best to conserve natural resources by focusing on reducing greenhouse gases and using energy, water, and forest resources efficiently. This means looking carefully across our business to identify conservation opportunities while considering how changes may affect the Nordstrom customer experience.
Energy and Water
Reducing energy through new technologies and smart planning
Energy efficiency and water conservation are key areas of focus for us. We've reduced our per-square-foot energy use by 4.1% during the past year alone and our goal is to continue decreasing energy demand across our operations over the next five years. Water use at Nordstrom has also dropped due to our successful conservation efforts. Some of the tools and methods we're using are included below.
Our energy use has dropped significantly for the past two years due to lighting upgrades. In our Shoes, Accessories and Fashion Jewelry departments we've installed new, more efficient spotlight technologies that conserve energy and provide higher-quality lighting. Every year, selected Nordstrom stores are being retrofitted with entirely new lighting systems. For example, at the Nordstrom Direct Fulfillment and Contact Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, lighting upgrades have reduced demand even when the facility expanded to double its original size. Through a combination of new occupancy sensors and enhanced lighting fixtures, we decreased electrical usage by an estimated 3.2 million kilowatt hours in 2009.
Heating, Cooling and Other Systems
We pilot energy-efficient heating, cooling and other systems designed to reduce energy. For example, at our Ala Moana store in Honolulu we installed an air conditioning system that cools the store in the daytime by using stored ice, without running the mechanical cooling element. In Hawaii—where energy costs are often some of the highest in the nation—Nordstrom is committed to being a responsible community partner by not pulling electricity off the grid during peak demand daytime hours.
Responsible Water Use
We believe responsible water use applies to conserving water and protecting water quality throughout our entire supply chain. At Nordstrom stores, offices and distribution facilities, water conservation means careful watering practices in our landscaping, and regulated flow toilets and waterless urinals in our newer facilities and stores. Outside of our facilities, we also work with facilities that produce Nordstrom private label products on responsible water use. Though Nordstrom Product Group has a limited number of products that require wet processing or washing techniques (and in turn uses a very small amount of water compared to other manufacturers), we still believe that we should understand and work to decrease our water use in the facilities that manufacture those products. Through a collaborative effort with other major manufacturers who share the facilities, the facilities that meet the standards established by the Sustainable Water Group of the Business for Social Responsibility are audited and remediated. At other facilities, water use, disposal and availability of potable water (a requirement for any Nordstrom vendor) are all components of the Nordstrom audit program and are monitored closely. Nordstrom is also involved with the Business for Social Responsibility Apparel, Mills and Sundries Working Group, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and other efforts where water use and wastewater are two of several manufacturing performance areas that are being addressed as priorities.
Paper and Packaging
Informing our customers, saving forests
When it comes to protecting forests, our goal is to implement paper-use solutions that conserve forest resources, maintain our quality standards and continue to meet our business goals. We're making great progress. Between 2006 and 2007, we decreased our use of office paper by seven tons. Mailings from Nordstrom stores dropped by 74 tons, and catalog paper requirements alone fell by 145.5 tons due to smarter and more focused mailings.
We strive to deliver catalogs to our customers that highlight great fashion and trends, while also doing our best to consider the environmental impacts producing catalogs can have. For example, in April 2007 we increased the post-consumer waste (PCW) content of our catalogs from 10% to 30%. Today, all the catalog paper we purchase is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), recognized broadly for setting responsible forestry environmental standards. Nordstrom is a leading retailer in this category, setting a standard for all catalog paper to be FSC-certified with a goal of 30% PCW content.
Packaging and Product Innovations
The products we sell and the packaging they come in offer significant opportunities to reduce waste and conserve resources. From smaller packaging to products made with recycled materials, resource conservation is an important part of Nordstrom's process innovation. Learn more about our packaging policies.
Our Carbon Footprint
Getting the most out of every mile
Getting merchandise from our distribution centers to our stores and customers is critical. We believe product delivery can occur efficiently and on schedule while simultaneously reducing our carbon footprint, and we have several initiatives in place to help. One example is speedometer controls on delivery trucks to improve fuel mileage as merchandise is moved from our distribution centers to Nordstrom stores. The trucks' maximum speed is electronically set to 65 mph, and an onboard computer system monitors driver behaviors that affect fuel efficiency, such as rapid acceleration or hard braking.
Another initiative involves reconfiguring the way merchandise is loaded onto trucks at our distribution centers. Nordstrom has converted all deliveries to a "flat pack" approach, allowing us to maximize the number of cartons of merchandise in each truck and significantly reduce the number of deliveries made each year.
Creating green communities
As part of finding opportunities within our business to reduce carbon emissions, we are partnering with Forterra, a non-profit organization focused on protecting and conserving natural and working landscapes in Washington State's central Cascades and Olympic regions. Through this partnership, we have become a member of Forterra's Carbon Capturing Companies program, or C3. The C3 program enables us to offset 50 percent of the carbon emissions of all Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores in the Puget Sound region by planting and maintaining tree restoration sites in Everett, Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.
Current Stories:Read more about some of our efforts.
REDUCING SHIPPING IMPACTS THE SMARTWAY
By participating in the EPA's SmartWay® Transport Partnership, we're able to identify and lessen the environmental impacts of moving our merchandise around the country. Read More
On the Road – With the Environment in Mind
Ground transportation is an important part of Nordstrom's business and reducing the carbon footprint of the trucks we use is a
top priority. Read More
Saving Energy Reaps Rewards
Customers who visit the Nordstrom Tacoma Mall Store might notice a cling on the door as they enter the store that says "This building is an Energy Star building."Read More
Win-Win: Better Paper and Less of It
We have been working to reduce the amount of paper we use in our daily operations and to improve the environmental quality of the paper we purchase.Read More
Our Shrinking Carbon Footprint
We've been working to reduce our carbon footprint to help minimize impacts from climate changeand we plan to keep at it.Read More