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Behind the Sustainable Scenes E1: Making Shipping Sustainable

Updated: Aug 27, 2021


Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash.


Starting a small business from scratch is not as simple as one might hope. When the euphoria is carrying you through the first decisions and actionable steps, it’s hard to anticipate every single hurdle that might pop up along the way.


One of those is the bureaucracy and cost of shipping. You’d think how hard can it be to wrap up an itsy bitsy bikini in some cardboard and ship it to another continent? It’s being done every single day by a gazillion different companies! Well, it’s not as simple as just wrapping it and posting it. Here at XALI we’re trying to make every decision with the least impact on our planet in mind.


The environmental impact of shipping


We wanted to know whether transport by plane or by cargo ship produces less emissions. If you only consider carbon dioxide pollution, cargo ships would be the clear choice: they emit a much smaller amount of CO2 per metric ton of freight and per kilometer of transportation than airplanes, trucks and trains. But in comparison to airplanes, many cargo ships produce a bunch of other harmful emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate pollution. If you want to read up more on this, you can start with this article: Air Freight vs. Sea Freight Carbon Footprint // Environmental Impact of Shipping.


Taking overall emissions and not only carbon dioxide into consideration, it seems like both options are equally polluting. But there’s a silver lining: there already exist some cargo ship companies that are using modern liners that minimize their impact on the ocean. They made it their mission to provide “green shipping”. Some other delivery providers enable you to choose a carbon neutral delivery option. The latter is what we're opting for in our first launch and are ready to improve our practices whenever we find a better solution.


Money rules the world


While we’re trying our best to find an ecological and economical shipping option, at least for now we can't cover the shipping costs of our swimwear. That's just the reality of being a start up. We also honestly don't know what fast fashion brands have to do in order to be able to cover shipping fees for you! Once you're checking out in our shop, you'll be seeing the cost of shipping to your location. Be aware that depending on your country of residence, you may be charged an import tax once the package crosses the boarder.


No express shipping, no returns, no hang tags, no hygiene liners


A clear decision we were able to make so far is to abstain from express shipping, because this would mean singular items have to be flown across the globe (or across the continent) by airplane.


Now that you have a better understanding of the emissions and the cost of shipping, you’ll also understand that we aren’t offering returns, even within Australia. The whole process of returns is not sustainable and costs the consumer returning the items. That’s why we recommend you really study our size guide and take your measurements very accurately. Before you order, you can even think of a friend or two that you may gift or sell the swimsuits to in case you’re unhappy with how they sit on your body.


Another nifty little thing we thought of to reduce waste is to forgo using hygiene liners and hang tags. Of course we still recommend trying the bottoms on over underwear in case you want to resell. The first drop of bikinis already comes with hang tags because the decision was made after placing the first order. But in the future we’ll not be producing them, as their only next step in life is to be thrown away again.


A little glimpse into the future


If XALI becomes more popular and the demand for delivering our swimwear globally rises, the plan is to have some sort of distribution centre or shop in the UK and maybe even North America, where we could ship a bigger batch to once or twice per year, using green cargo lines. We promise: we‘re trying our hardest to always improve our shipping process and make it more sustainable for the customers, the company and our planet. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and Instagram account to be among the first to hear of our next wins!


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash.

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