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Aveda's Product Distribution System: A Strategic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Consumption

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Aveda Corporation's product delivery system (PDS) is evaluated in terms of energy consumption and global warming potential (GWP). Two components of the PDS are analyzed in this study:  the tertiary packaging (dunnage, plastic wrap, and cardboard boxes) and the transportation required to distribute products from Aveda's manufacturing facility in Blaine, Minnesota to specified salon and retail customers throughout the U.S. Computer models employing life cycle methodology were developed to quantify the energy consumption and GWP of the PDS, and recommendations are made to reduce the impact of the PDS. The recommendations are evaluated in terms of both environmental and business opportunity.

The total annual energy consumption for the PDS is found to be 36.4 million (MM) mega-joules (MJ) and the total annual GWP is 2,811 metric tons of CO2 equivalents. This impact breaks down to 10.6 MM MJ of energy, and 714 metric tons CO2 equivalents for tertiary packaging and 25.8 MM MJ of energy and 2,097 metric tons CO2 for transport. The PDS energy consumption and GHG emissions associated with the tertiary packaging are correlated with the mass of the materials used, packaging fabrication processes and material composition, and transportation of the tertiary packaging materials from suppliers to Aveda's Blaine facility. The impact of the transportation is driven primarily by mode of transport and weight and distance traveled by shipments.

Recommendations evaluated to reduce the PDS impact include: utilize intermodal shipping to distribution centers (DC), reduce loose-pick shipments, ship direct from the Roseville DC to more retail stores, reduce transport inefficiencies, offset carbon emissions, use alternative fuel from Blaine to the new DC, enroll in the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership Program, and implement a tertiary packaging PCR content requirement. If implemented, these recommendations (excluding carbon offsets) would reduce the PDS impact by approximately 9%, or 3.3 MM MJ and 285 metric tons CO2 annually.

To protect the Aveda Corporation, proprietary data have been omitted and the names of facilities and distribution channels have been masked.

Research Areas
Food Systems and Consumer Products
Consumer Products & Packaging
Publication Type
Master's Thesis
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation

Arbitman, Nathan, Tony Baptista, Edward Ekkers, Jonathon Forrester and Heather Kirshman. 2005. Aveda’s Product Distribution System: A Strategic Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Consumption. Master's Thesis, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor: 1-163.