Slow Shipping Sails Into Existence: Why Businesses Should Care

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In this world of increasingly instant gratification, what could possibly be the appeal of the shipment of your company’s products taking much longer than usual? A lot, if it’s via New Dawn Traders. The environmental impact of shipping and flying by plane have long received dramatic headlines. But shipping by boat? Not so much. Yet it should, as the 15 largest ships in the world produce as much sulphur oxide pollution as all the cars in the world combined. And that’s just the start.

Environmentalist Jamie Pike is currently sailing on an alternative: Irene, a vintage ketch that was once part of the British Merchant fleet. Intended as a way to draw attention to the impact of typical shipping and to become a viable option itself, the New Dawn Traders are currently on a 5 month journey around the world. They just loaded a cargo of olive oil in Spain, to be delivered in South America, next stop Canary Islands. It’s ironic that this ship, the last of its kind from a bygone era, is being used as a vehicle to point towards the future of shipping. Slow shipping.

The New Dawn Traders are looking beyond their solitary ship and into what’s possible after this. Crew member Lucy Gilliam sees the expansion largely focused on sailing ships, but adds, “It could also be hybrid ships with alternative fuel sources.” If recent news of Nissan’s solar powered, low friction painted, LED lit vessel are any indication, Gilliam is on to something.

All well and good, but what’s the benefit to the companies whose products are being shipped?

Like fair trade, companies that intentionally use shipping can but eliminate the environmental impact of their transport. Helping both create interest in and serve as shorthand once its meaning gets known, the New Dawn Traders will be working on developing a For Sail label. A clever, memorable term, it could prove quite helpful in giving the concept of Slow Shipping the wind it needs to be a substantial force for reducing the impact of boat based shipping  in the world, while also being a brand building boon to the bottom line of businesses that use it.

Readers: Would you as a business use Slow Shipping? Would you as a consumer make a point to buy For Sail items? Why or why not?

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Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, global trend tracker, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing. || ==> For more, see GreenSmithConsulting.com