Initiatives in product development
Using eco-friendly materials in product development
NITORI’s original school bag jointly developed with TEIJIN LIMITED, a leading material manufacturer, is an eco-friendly product that uses recycled fiber made from PET bottles.
According to an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment: a method for assessing the environmental impact at every stage of a product’s life cycle, from manufacturing to shipment, sale, usage, disposal and recycling) study, using this recycled fiber helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 47% and cut energy consumption by 33%, as compared to using petroleum as the raw material.
*Data that adds in the carbon dioxide emitted in the case of burning rather than recycling (based on estimates compiled by the Industry Information Center)
Simplification of product packaging
We are trying to get rid of unnecessary individual packing while promoting FRM (Floor Ready Merchandise) packaging, which enables us to display goods for sale at our stores without unpacking individually.
Product development using reclaimed wood and recycled plastic
NITORI’s Corporate Sales Division offers outdoor benches made from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic, which have proved popular with corporate customers.
kaizen packaging methods to not be dependent on styrofoam as cushioning material
Styrofoam is optimal for wrapping furniture as a cushioning material due to its ability to absorb shock and its natural elasticity. However, at this moment we currently put down costs in order to dispose the used styrofoam via incineration. By not using styrofoam as a cushioning material or wrapping built furniture, Nitori has taken the steps towards improving the quality of the environment.Nitori was able to reduce the amount of styrofoam used by approximately 34 tons, and has reduced the CO2 emission via incineration by approximately 115 tons. (2017)
Without the need to dispose styrofoam, the overall time for delivery has decreased. Nitori now is able to contribute to the CO2 reduction via increased delivery efficiency.
Initiatives in the manufacturing process
Efficient use of wood and paint
In order to efficiently use of wood (which is a precious resource), we utilize the timber offcuts that were generated at the production stage as reinforcing structures for furniture at our factories in Vietnam and in Indonesia.
Furthermore we even use small pieces of wood as fuel for the boiler used to dry paint in order to reduce waste. The fuel is burnt at a high temperature of 1,000 - 1,500 degrees to avoid emitting smoke.
In addition, we re-use the left-over paint from the furniture production line in a solvent to wash production machines.
Initiatives in logistics
Reduction of CO2 emissions by making transportation more efficient
We promote efficiency in product transportation and work on reduction of CO2 emissions by shortening travel distance.
Although we used to deliver ordered goods to customers via an in-house distribution center, we are now working on creating a new mechanism that enables us to deliver goods directly from the manufacturer to the customer and eliminating relay points.
As a result of these actions, CO2 emissions from our stores are decreasing.
Efficiency of transportation by compressing the packing size of the product
We work on reducing the frequency of transportation by increasing the number of products that can be carried at a time by means of compressing the packing size of the product. By having this done, we contribute to a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Having started from relatively small products, such as cushions and futons, we now do the same for larger items like spring bed mattresses. With compression packing of these mattresses, we expect to be able to achieve reduction of approximately 3,000 containers and 2,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Container Round Use
Container Round Use (CRU) is a concept in which a devanned empty container is used for export without returning it to the shipping company. In cooperation with many of our business partners, NITORI applied the round use approach to 1,800 containers in 2018 and was able to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 117 tons.
Initiatives in store operations
Energy saving at stores
In 2013, we started to introduce the use of LED ceiling lights to newly-opened stores. As for existing stores, we are also changing their lighting sequentially. In addition to LED lights, other energy saving facilities, such as a heat pump type air conditioner, demand control system (which suppresses electric power consumption) and BEMS (Building Energy Management System), have also been introduced.
Use of eco-friendly packing material
We use reusable packing materials for furniture product transportation between bases to reduce consumption of corrugated cardboard or urethane foam.
In 2014, we introduced special packing materials for case goods (e.g. cupboards) into approximately 200 stores. We will continue introducing new packing materials and expect to be able to reduce garbage discharge by 550 tons annually.
Reviewing materials used in store sales promotion panels
We are working to reduce our environmental impact by changing the materials used in the sales promotion panels we put up in our stores. Every year, we use around 100,000 polystyrene boards (expanded polystyrene boards fronted with paper posters), all of which are thrown away after use. By switching to a new system of using plastic frames, we can now simply replace paper posters. This has enabled us to substantially reduce waste. Changing from polystyrene boards, which are roughly 5mm thick, to paper meanwhile has significantly improved transport efficiency from overseas manufacturing plants to our stores, which in turn has helped to reduce CO2 emissions.
Installing electric vehicle charging facilities
We have installed electric vehicle charging facilities at our stores in Aso, Toyonaka and Ginowan.
In fiscal 2015, we installed 554 standard chargers across all 204 of our stores nationwide in an effort to improve services for our customers and local communities with an eye on the increasing popularity of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the future.
Introducing eco-friendly vehicles
We are replacing company vehicles, which are available for employees to use for work purposes, with eco-friendly vehicles that have a less environmental impact. In fiscal 2015, we leased ten electric vehicles for employees to use when travelling or transporting products between stores.
We will also be able to use vehicles’ power storage capabilities in the event of a disaster.
Initiatives in offices
Introduction of WEB meetings
Having installed a WEB meeting system, we now have a setup that enables us to hold meetings anytime and anywhere via personal computers. This has helped to reduce CO2 emissions caused by people moving around.
Creating a paperless environment
- Introducing paperless records (saving approximately 450,000 sheets of paper used in stores previously)
- Reducing printing through measures such as encouraging double-sided printing
- Promoting initiatives such as installing projectors in meeting rooms and discontinuing paper copies of minutes from meetings
We promote energy saving in a variety of different ways, including implementing Cool Biz initiatives, reviewing temperature settings on air conditioning systems, turning off lights, and installing heat-shield coatings on windows. We are also working to install LED lighting in all of our offices. At our logistics facilities in the Kanto and Kansai areas meanwhile, we have installed fluorescent lights with highly reflective backing plates, which has proved effective in reducing power consumption.
Getting involved in the Light Down Campaign
One of the measures we are taking to help prevent global warming is getting involved in the Light Down Campaign, an initiative organized by the Ministry of the Environment on the summer solstice and the night of Tanabata (Star Festival) with the aim of reducing CO2.
Report on "Low Carbon Challenge Cup 2019"
As in the previous year, we continued to support the Low Carbon Challenge Cup 2019.
The "Low-Carbon Challenge Cup" is an initiative that aims to raise awareness of the global environment by introducing innovative ideas and activities to prevent global warming from a variety of perspectives, from students to businesses.
Nitori founded the "Nitori Best Dream and Future Award" with the aim of building a brilliant future full of dreams and hopes through environmental initiatives. In 2019 fiscal year, the award was presented to the Morioka City Shimobashi Junior High School's "Focus on the Environment and Proactive Development of Students."
Morioka City Shimobashi Junior High School provides environmental education for their students. The first-year students are given hands-on learning, the second-year students are given work place visits, and the third-year students are given tree-planting activities. Furthermore the school holds discussion for the environment three times every year. The school's aim to nurture "students who are interested in environmental problems and act spontaneously to solve them as their own" and "students with rich humanity through working on environmental problems" in three years of experience and comprehensive study on the environment is a wonderful program. It makes us feel that students can think and act proactively and lead to a good future even after graduation.
We hope that their initiatives will expand from Iwate Prefecture to all over the world and lead to the future.
We will continue to contribute to the creation of a low-carbon society by supporting these activities.