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Why reduce emissions when you could eliminate them altogether?

How a carbon neutral company, Waiākea Water, is dodging obstacles and achieving numerous business objectives with a single freight solution.

Waiākea Water logo
Waiākea Water with palm leaves background

Meet Waiākea Water

Waiākea Water is the world’s first Hawaiian volcanic water and represents a global brand that’s creating positive, meaningful change. With headquarters in Hilo, Hawaii, Waiākea Water bases its values on the surrounding culture and prioritizes giving back to the local community.

Founder and CEO of Waiākea Water Ryan Emmons launched the business in 2012 after recognizing a gap in the beverage and greater consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry for a premium water company that focuses on philanthropy, health, and sustainability. Waiākea Water is the only premium water company in the United States that’s using these values to drive industrywide change from the inside out.

Waiākea Water sees itself as a leader in corporate social responsibility and hopes to be an example for other companies. “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness,” Waiākea Water’s website reads.

Waiākea Water’s corporate mission: to provide naturally healthy, delicious, Hawaiian volcanic water with the blessing of the indigenous Kupuna and Konohiki, while contributing to and promoting clean water access, conservation, and education for people in need in Hawai’i and throughout the world.

Tap into nature

Waiākea Water comes from the rain and snowmelt of the active Mauna Loa volcano. Porous volcanic rocks filter the water (an average of 395 million gallons a day!) and add many essential minerals to it, making it rich in electrolytes and naturally alkaline. Waiākea Water is farming sustainably, bottling less than 0.003% of the aquifer’s sustainable yield.

Waiākea Water coffee

Get inspired by a brand that gives back

Waiākea Water’s dedication to people in Hilo and around the world is impressive. Here are a couple of the company’s most impactful initiatives:

  • Pump Aid: Waiākea Water partners with Pump Aid to improve water accessibility and sanitation for people in Malawi, Africa. For every purchased liter of Waiākea Water, the company donates one week of clean water to people in disadvantaged communities around the globe through Pump Aid.
  • Kōkua Initiative: Waiākea Water devotes a percentage of company revenue to this program, which focuses on giving back to the Hilo community. In the past year, Waiākea Water used the Kōkua Initiative to support local communities that faced hardship due to COVID-19. The company donated water, relief funds, sanitizer, and many more essential supplies to over 35 organizations in 2020.

Waiākea Water’s theme for 2021 philanthropic initiatives is “ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia” (or “No task is too big when done together by all”). Waiākea Water will draw inspiration from this theme during collaborations with other organizations this year, knowing that working together lightens the load, unifies people, and strengthens relationships.

Leave no trace

Waiākea Water leads by example when it comes to sustainability, prioritizing a positive environmental impact. The company:

Waiākea Water’s five-year sustainability goals include:

  • Using a 100% electric fleet for all transportation and logistics
  • Powering all sourcing and manufacturing operations with 100% solar and wind energy
  • Becoming 100% plastic negative
  • Building Hawaii’s first RPET recycling and process facility
  • Providing an end-of-life solution for its bottles with no environmental biomagnification factor

An overview of Waiākea Water’s CarbonNeutral® certification

Waiākea Water bases its dedication to running a carbon neutral business on the Hawaiian practice of “mālama i ka ‘āina” (which means “to respect and care for the land”).

The company has worked with two of the world’s leading emissions consultants to reduce the direct and indirect environmental impacts of its business and its product to net zero, making Waiākea Water the first American premium bottled water and beverage to earn a CarbonNeutral® certification. Once a year, Natural Capital Partners measures Waiākea Water’s total greenhouse gas emissions as they relate to all business operations (including the distance every unit travels and the product’s end of life).

By setting the highest possible standard for carbon emission reduction, Waiākea Water is helping the beverage and greater CPG industry evolve. 

Waiākea Water sparkling water

Look for a logistics provider with similar values

To keep carbon emissions at net zero, Waiākea Water applies new technology across all operations, including the company supply chain. Waiākea Water attributes its ability to ship with a net-zero impact to Flock Freight’s carbon neutral service, FlockDirect. But before we describe how Waiākea Water leverages FlockDirect, let’s explain the company’s freight-shipping needs.

Service performance is critical for Waiākea Water because 95% of its freight goes to major retailers with strict on-time, in-full (OTIF) requirements, including mandatory delivery appointments. Additionally, Waiākea Water’s freight is dense (because the company ships water), which impacts transportation needs. Read on to learn why Waiākea Water started a partnership with Flock Freight.

Use shared truckload as a solution to tight capacity (during times like peak season)

Waiākea Water’s typical shipment ranges from eight to 12 pallets and weighs more than 15,000 pounds. The company has used both truckload (TL) and less-than truckload (LTL) shipping for freight of this size. 

Waiākea Water Logistics and Operations Manager Tyler Wright specifies limited visibility and low capacity as two of the company’s challenges with LTL service.

Standard LTL shipping has limited tracking capabilities. With LTL, shippers can see point of pickup and estimated delivery time frames, but can’t tell where freight is in real time.

“With LTL, there’s no one who can tell you where your shipment is. We send our LTL shipments early and pray that they’ll arrive on time.”

Service capacity has been another weakness of LTL for Waiākea Water. According to Tyler, the company has run into problems with LTL during peak season. In 2020, for example, available delivery appointments were three weeks out because of market conditions. Since LTL carriers stopped creating appointments until after shipment pickup, shippers like Waiākea Water had to store product in warehouses. 

Paying for warehouse storage wasn’t realistic for Waiākea Water, so Tyler and his team sought another solution. Since Waiākea Water wasn’t yet familiar with FlockDirect’s shared truckload solution, the company explored TL service.

Because Waiākea Water’s average shipment exceeds LTL’s weight maximum, TL service works for the company’s denser freight. But the benefits don’t stretch far beyond that for Waiākea Water, especially because TL service is so pricey. 

To summarize, neither LTL nor TL shipping optimizes the freight of shippers like Waiākea Water. 

Meet Flock Freight

Waiākea Water heard about Flock Freight’s shared truckload solution and signed up on our website. The company connected with our Vice President of Enterprise Sales to learn more, discovering that our FlockDirect service is the only way to guarantee shared truckload shipping. Waiākea Water then used its three pillars of health, sustainability, and ethics to evaluate our business, ultimately deciding that we were a fit for a partnership. (The water brand is picky about the companies it works with; to consider another organization for a partnership, Waiākea Water must see the business in question demonstrate the three pillars.)

Discover the Flock Freight difference

When Waiākea Water began shipping with us, the company’s main goals were to cut costs and find a logistics provider with responsive and proactive customer communication. Tyler explains, “Our delivery expense per case is more expensive than most because we ship our product from Hawaii to the Mainland. During our partnership, Flock Freight has helped Waiākea look at our outbound shipping costs with focuses on reducing freight spend and lowering internal expenses.”

By moving Waiākea Water’s freight with FlockDirect’s shared truckload service, we’ve helped the company meet its two primary objectives along with multiple others, including:

Realize cost savings

Flock Freight pools shipments that are going the same direction on one truck via FlockDirect’s shared truckload service. Because shippers pay only for the space they need, FlockDirect customers save on freight costs. 

“We were using TL service to ship freight with 12-14 pallets from Dallas to Florida due to weight constraints. Using FlockDirect reduced delivery expenses on these types of shipments sometimes upwards of 50%.”

Receive dedicated support

Tyler is very satisfied with our responsiveness to Waiākea Water’s needs and commends us on our email support.

“Flock Freight’s employees are great! Not many other freight providers can give our business a dedicated representative. I appreciate that our Flock Freight rep builds relationships with our warehouse managers and sets up appointments within 24 hours. With Flock Freight, I never have to wonder if my shipments are good to go. Plus, the team’s always on top of any issues that arise.”

At the end of the day, our priority is managing Tyler’s shipments and making his life easier.

Reduce environmental impact with carbon neutral shipping

“Flock Freight’s sustainability values really align with ours. We’d choose FlockDirect for the sustainability offering of shared truckload alone.”

The value we provide Waiākea Water when it comes to carbon neutral shipping might be the most exciting part of our partnership.

Here’s how we guarantee carbon neutral shipping for Waiākea Water and our other customers:

All FlockDirect shipments move via shared truckload service, which reduces carbon emissions by conserving fuel, removing the environmental risks of remaking (then reshipping) damaged goods, and eliminating the need for resource-intensive LTL facilities. We supplement the emissions savings of FlockDirect shipments with a carbon offset program, in partnership with Carbonfund.org. Learn more here.

Since Waiākea Water started booking FlockDirect, the company has reduced freight-related carbon emissions by 28% and skipped over 250 LTL facilities. In December 2020 alone, Waiākea Water saved 40,000 pounds of carbon on just 36 shipments with FlockDirect.

Experience better freight tracking

In terms of visibility, Waiākea Water benefits from FlockDirect’s shared truckload service because our app (the Flock Platform) and updates tell Tyler exactly where his shipments are and when his freight will deliver. “Flock Freight’s technology is good at communicating pickup and delivery,” Tyler affirms.

Flock Freight moves shared truckloads via TL service, increasing shipment visibility. Shared truckload shipments move on one truck and never leave the trailer during transit. As a result, shared truckload tracking is simpler than that of LTL service.

The verdict is in: FlockDirect offers better visibility than the LTL network for smaller-size shipments.

Get help scheduling delivery appointments

FlockDirect’s shared truckload service helped Waiākea Water avoid unwanted storage costs and maintain a 97% on-time delivery rate during 2020’s challenging peak season.

“In December [2020], FlockDirect’s on-time percentage was 97%, compared to that of LTL, which was only 83%.”

The key to this level of service? FlockDirect’s option to schedule delivery appointments prior to shipment pickup, which helps companies like Waiākea Water overcome the difficulties of tight capacity.

Waiākea Water sparkling water

Assess shared truckload’s place in your supply chain

Flock Freight is the first logistics provider to give Waiākea Water the chance to ship partials efficiently and sustainably. The water brand books FlockDirect shipping in the Flock Platform and over email. The company moved almost 75% of its Flock Freight shipments via FlockDirect in fourth quarter 2020.

As Waiākea Water’s business expands in 2021, the company plans to continue its partnership with Flock Freight to realize optimal outcomes within its supply chain.

“Working with Flock Freight has been an awesome experience from the start. We have increased efficiency and reduced carbon emissions by 28% with FlockDirect.”


Quotes from Tyler Wright, Logistics and Operations Manager at Waiākea Water

Meet precise on-time pick up and delivery requirements with shared truckload.