Ship up against a dock with large containers stacked on the deck

A Container Ship unloads at the Port of LA. Credit: Robert Schwemmer.

Ocean view of shipping vessel in background with whale tail in front

Slower ships reduce the risk of fatal whale strikes. Credit: John Calambokidis

ship in ocean from above showing containers

Slowing ships means cleaner air, safer whales, and a quieter ocean.

Brand Ambassadors help protect blue whales and blue skies by choosing cargo carriers enrolled in the Blue Whales and Blue Skies Program.

We believe in the impact sustainable products and eco-friendly approaches can have on the environment”

— Vinson Xia, Associate Director of Operations, Way Basics

CALIFORNIA, USA, December 20, 2022 / — Several companies have joined the Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies Program’s Brand Ambassador team of sustainable shippers. It’s an initiative that helps pave the way for lower emission shipping, cleaner air, safer whales, and a quieter ocean.

Brand Ambassadors ship their products with cargo carriers enrolled in the Blue Whales and Blue Skies Program, a voluntary Vessel Speed Reduction program created to reduce the environmental impacts of maritime shipping along the West Coast.

Way Basics, a producer of eco-friendly products; Santa Cruz Bicycles, a manufacturer of high-end mountain bikes; Who Gives a Crap, producer of sustainable bathroom paper products; and the Port of Hueneme have recently joined the Brand Ambassador initiative. United by their commitment to protect natural resources, they join Nomad, a consumer electronics and lifestyle products company; Summit Coffee Roasting Company, a subsidiary of Summit Coffee; and Peak Designs, a gear and accessories company, as Brand Ambassadors.

Being a Brand Ambassador is an easy way to help reduce ship strikes to endangered whales, air pollution, and regional greenhouse gas emissions while highlighting a company’s commitment to sustainable shipping. There’s no cost to be part of the Brand Ambassador initiative, and companies that ship with participating carriers are already eligible to join. Brand Ambassadors are recognized on the Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies website and in media outreach to the public and industry.

Historically, brands that rely on ocean freight have little information about the regional environmental impacts of the ships carrying their products. The Brand Ambassador Initiative addresses this knowledge gap by providing brands with data pertaining to their cargo carriers’ vessel speeds and the resulting environmental benefits as they reduce their speeds near coastal communities in California.

Just like cars, vessels traveling at reduced speeds are more efficient, emitting fewer greenhouse gasses and harmful air pollutants. Slower vessels also reduce ocean noise and the risk of fatal ship strikes, which threaten whales globally and especially endangered blue, fin, and humpback whales in California waters.

The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program works closely with ship operators along the West Coast in seasons and locations where reduced speed maximizes environmental benefits with minimal effect on shipping schedules. Despite unprecedented global supply chain challenges, in 2021, on average participating vessels reduced speeds for approximately 60% of their voyages, indicating vessel operators’ continued commitment to ship more sustainably.

Through the Brand Ambassador Initiative, companies interested in reducing the impact of their supply chain receive data on the reduced speed efforts of their cargo carriers and the resulting decrease in air pollutants, greenhouse gasses, ship strikes and ocean noise. This information can be used to educate consumers purchasing their products and inform future shipping decisions. By showing their support for the program, Brand Ambassadors encourage higher cargo carrier participation to create a healthier coast for whales and people.

“At Way Basics, we believe in the impact sustainable products and eco-friendly approaches can have on the environment,” said Vinson Xia, Associate Director of Operations at Way Basics. “Joining Protecting Blue Whales & Blue Skies as a Brand Ambassador aligns with this initiative completely. Every shipment counts.”

“We have the responsibility as a business to really think about our emissions and how we can get to a place where these emissions are significantly reduced,” said Elissa Foster, Head of Sustainability at Who Gives A Crap. “Joining the Blue Whales and Blue Skies program is a great, tangible way to reduce emissions that result from transporting products via ship and helps to protect endangered blue whales.”

To get involved, interested brands should visit or contact Enrollment is free, and takes just a few minutes.

“Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies” program is a collaborative effort by Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District; Ventura County Air Pollution Control District; Bay Area Air Quality Management District; Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, and Greater Farallones national marine sanctuaries; The Volgenau Foundation; California Marine Sanctuary Foundation; National Marine Sanctuary Foundation; Greater Farallones Association; Environmental Defense Center; Point Blue Conservation Science; Starcrest Consulting; and Scripps Whale Acoustic Laboratory/Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Sarah Marquis
Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies
email us here

Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies