Nearshoring for a Sustainable Future

The tides have shifted. The new modern consumer is increasingly “woke.” There is a growing awareness of how their buying preferences have an impact that reaches much further than their wallet.  The effect is reaching overseas where production of goods and the environmental impact of importing those goods are reaching a tipping point.

Consumers are aware that their dollars count as votes for certain ideologies, practices, and processes. They are increasingly demanding transparency in the supply chain. The apparel industry is a prime example of this shift. The McKinsey State of Fashion Report found that 78% of sourcing managers, “believe that sustainability will also be a somewhat or highly likely key purchasing factor for mass-market apparel consumers by 2025.”

Nearshoring for Proximity

Nearshoring allows for more sustainable practices and compliance, which consumers are showing are of great value to them. Manufacturing close to the market promotes sustainability for the simple fact that goods do not have to go through as arduous of a shipping process. A reduction in fuel costs has not only a positive impact on the bottom line but also the environment.

Nearshoring for Adaptability

Traditional production entails an investment in large quantities of product that may or may not meet consumer tastes weeks or months after the process is complete. Overstock merchandise and returns are a significant sustainability issue. Annually, returns reach the $380 billion mark annually, and five billion pounds of consumer goods end up in landfills each year.  Optoro, a tech company that manages returns for companies, reported the abysmal fact of the matter.

A significant factor in this is that the demand model is becoming a vital factor in production. Trends aren’t determined months in advance and companies used to have weeks rather than hours to meet this demand.

Nearshoring for Sustainability

Nearshoring enables a company to be both flexible and agile. In addition to reduced carbon footprint from transportation, proximity allows for speed-to-market. This swiftness provides opportunity for a brand to capitalize on demand and make changes to production. The result is a reduction of unwanted goods that couldn’t make it to the purchaser’s hands before the trend faded. Zara and Asos have already adopted nearshoring and more brands will continue to do so. According to McKinsey, 60 percent of apparel executives believe that by 2025 their “sourcing volume will be from nearshore.”

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