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Zalando commits to carbon neutrality

By Huw Hughes

30 Oct 2019


Online fashion giant Zalando has committed to a net-zero carbon footprint across its own operations, deliveries and returns.

The German retailer announced a number of initiatives on Tuesday as part of a new 'do.More' sustainability strategy, including meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement for its own operations ahead of the agreement’s schedule, repositioning its private Zign label as a “sustainable” brand, and aiming to be single-use plastic-free in its own packaging by 2023.

In 2019, the company switched to over 90 percent renewable energy across all locations. Carbon emissions that are not eliminated by operational improvements such as renewable energy, order bundling or green delivery options, are now being offset.

Zalando boxes are currently made from 100 percent recycled materials, shipping bags from 80 percent recycled plastics and beauty bags have been switched to 100 percent recycled paper. By 2023, the company now aims for all its own packaging to be single-use plastic-free.

The German fashion giant also announced that its private label Zign has extended its offering from shoes and accessories to apparel and will become Zalando’s sustainable flagship label after fully committing to sustainability by Spring Summer 2020. All Zign items by that time will feature Zalando’s sustainability flag in the Fashion Store.

Zalando announces new sustainability commitments

Commenting on the news in a statement, Zalando co-CEO Rubin Ritter said: “The fashion industry is facing sustainability challenges and we know we have been part of the problem. Going forward, our aspiration is to be part of the solution. We see a clear link between acting sustainably and continued commercial success. Only those who incorporate sustainability into their business strategy will stay relevant for their customers and we believe that it will be a competitive advantage in the future.”

As concerns over the impact the fashion industry has on the environment grow, more big-name fashion companies are doubling down on their sustainability efforts, with much of that focus being put on the reduction or offsetting of carbon emissions.

Last month, French luxury conglomerate Kering announced it was going carbon neutral, following in the footsteps of its biggest holding, Gucci, which did the same just weeks earlier. That same month, US retail giant Amazon announced plans to become net-zero carbon across its businesses by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Accord’s goal of 2050, while US apparel and accessories retailer American Eagle Outfitters pledged to do the same by 2030, and VF Corporation-owned American outdoor apparel brand Timberland announced plans to plant 50 million trees around the world by 2025.

Zalando said another way it hopes to champion sustainability is through its resale platform Zalando Wardrobe, which, according to the company, is forecast to extend the life of approximately one million of its products in 2019. By 2023, the retailer expects that number to increase to at least 50 million.

Kate Heiny, director corporate responsibility and sustainability at Zalando, said: “We make it easier for customers to shop more sustainably and we experiment and collaborate across the industry to shape a circular, prosperous future for fashion. This is how we will do more to move the entire fashion industry forward, for people and the planet.”

Photo credit: Zalando, Facebook

Carbon emissions
Carbon neutrality
Circular Fashion