Sustainability Management at Nau Inc.

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG080
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2004-07
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Nau Inc.
Industry : Apparel Manufacturing and Retailing
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

Nau was founded in 2004 by Eric Reynolds (Reynolds), one of the founders of Marmot. Reynolds functioned as a CEO of a water purifier company and was a consultant. All through his career, he was deeply concerned about the abuse of natural resources by individuals as well as corporations.

In 2003, he came up with an idea of setting up a sustainable clothing company, which would give away a part of its revenues to charity. Reynolds then registered a company called UTW LLC in Colorado , and began scouting for the right people who would help him make his dream come true. His search ended at Patagonia...

Sustainability across the Value Chain

Much before bringing out the products, Nau launched its website, with some sections of it being used to spread the message about the company's design philosophy and to interact with customers. In September 2006, Nau launched a blog called 'The Thought Kitchen' through which it encouraged community exchange of thought on a wide range of topics like sustainability, individuals' and corporates' responsibility toward society, the environment, etc., while not referring to any of Nau's products...

Eco-Friendly Products

Working in close cooperation with Zilligen and her team, which advocated sustainability in all the business practices, the design team established criteria regarding beauty, sustainability, and performance of Nau's products. In developing the products, the sustainability criterion was applied at each and every stage - design, materials used, production, distribution, and recycling. To make the clothes, only those materials were selected that had a 'positive end of life,' which meant that the products could be recycled or composted, and would not affect the environment by ending up in landfills or in incineration systems.

The design team came up with a list of substances whose use was restricted in Nau's clothing, and these included harmful fibers, dyes, and chemicals that contained toxins...

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