Respecting the Environment: Shipping + SmartWay®

Reducing Shipping Impacts the Smartway®

As a retailer with in-store and online operations, Nordstrom relies on shipping to serve our customers. At the same time, we realize the environmental impact that shipping can have, so we continue to look for ways to lessen that impact. Our participation in the SmartWay® program is one way to help us do just that.

Over the years, Nordstrom has worked hard to reduce the impact our business has on the environment. This has taken many different forms, including updating our packaging and installing more energy-efficient lighting in our stores. We know that our environmental footprint extends beyond the walls of our stores and offices, which is why we've partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through their SmartWay® Transport Partnership to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the trucks we rely on to move our merchandise to stores so that it's ready for our customers across the country.

"We really couldn't have made these changes without the support of our distribution centers and carriers..." -Loren VandenBerghe, director of transportation at Nordstrom"

Progress Through Collaboration

Nordstrom has been part of the SmartWay program, which partners with organizations to track and reduce their CO2 emissions, since 2011. In that time, we've made great strides toward improving our transportation efficiencies. However, none of this progress would be possible without ongoing collaboration with the EPA, our transportation supply chain, vendors and our internal merchandising teams. Some of the steps we've taken together include:

  • Partnering closely with our primary store delivery carrier, Cardinal Logistics, to develop energy savings ideas, including alternative-fuel vehicles, fuel-efficient trucks and cash rewards for drivers who hit mile per gallon (MPG) targets. More than 180 drivers received cash rewards in 2013. Through all these efforts combined, we saved 3,266 metric tons of CO2 this year, which is equal to taking 662 cars off the road for a year.
  • Capturing and sharing data with the EPA on our fuel usage, freight weight, CO2 emissions and use of intermodal transportation (combination rail and truck). Since 2010, we've required our freight carriers to be SmartWay Transport Partners, which enables us to more easily capture all of their fuel usage and CO2 reduction efforts as well. We've increased our use of intermodal transportation to make up 29% of all our deliveries.
  • Working with our team of buyers, distribution centers and carriers to find alternatives to airfreight delivery—something we use in situations where we need merchandise delivered quickly. By evaluating transportation alternatives and making strategic routing decisions, we're often able to avoid using airfreight. 
  • Scheduling deliveries at our stores during late evening and early morning. This helps us avoid rush-hour congestion and keeps our trucks off the road during peak times.
  • Investing in new trucks and trucking technologies that lower CO2 emissions, like compressed natural gas trucks and aerodynamic truck skirts that increase efficiency by decreasing resistance or drag. And we're able to add efficiencies for store deliveries in urban areas by using custom trailers that are loaded with merchandise for more than one store.

Recognition & Sharing Our Progress

Recently, all our efforts and progress were recognized by the EPA in the form of its SmartWay Excellence Award for Shippers and Logistics. The annual award recognizes SmartWay partners that are achieving strong results in their efforts to reduce emissions through collaboration, advanced technology and operations, and regular data reporting. 

"This recognition validates the importance of our cross-functional approach to reducing our carbon footprint," said Loren VandenBerghe, director of transportation for Nordstrom. "We really couldn't have made these changes without the support of our distribution centers and the carriers who move our merchandise into our distribution centers and to our stores." 

One component of the SmartWay Excellence Award is for member companies to share their efforts with their employees and customers. We regularly report on our goals and results right here on our Nordstrom Cares website through stories about our progress, as well as in our annual Sharing Our Progress report. 

"We set aggressive targets and track our performance goals closely," VandenBerghe said. "Whether our results are above or below target, we share them with our employees and our customers. We think they have an interest in how we are doing as a company."