Zalando published second Sustainability Progress Report and shifts towards scaling initiatives

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In 2019, Zalando outlined its vision to become a sustainable fashion platform with a net-positive impact for people and the planet in doing. MORE strategy. At the core of the strategy are six concrete goals across the categories of planet, product and people, which it has set out to complete between 2023 and 2025.

Kate Heiny, Director of Sustainability at Zalando said that, “If our aspiration is to be a sustainable fashion platform, it is about the actions that we do, but also the ecosystem and partners that we work with. We have targets that are specific to Zalando and specific to our partners. One example is in the Planet pillar: we have targets for ourselves to reduce our carbon footprint, but we also have targets for our brand, logistics, and packaging partners, to set science-based targets. We want to lead by example, but we need our partners to also participate in order to see a change.”

She also addressed some Challenges, “If you look at our target of applying the principles of circularity to extend the life of 50 million garments by 2023, we managed to extend the life of 2.3 million products in the first two years. We have a long way to go and face significant challenges for a variety of reasons — the recycling technologies are latent and just emerging now, so the timeline will be longer for any of those products to count towards that goal. Our circular design criteria will take about a year and a half to be implemented before a product comes to market, so there are long lead-times between the actions we take and when we actually get to take credit for extending the life of those products. Our private labels and partners are already designing collections for Spring/Summer 2023, which means that products with our new criteria will not be available at scale on Zalando within this year.

Still, there are ways in which we are using our own infrastructure to help reach this goal. In our Attitude-Behavior Gap Report, released in 2021, one of the biggest gaps that comes to mind is that 61% of customers said that secondhand is a good way to shop more sustainably, but only 25% do so routinely. What we see there is an opportunity to use the Zalando model of bringing the fitting room to your home and having quality control on the back end to improve the experience of buying secondhand. In our Pre-Owned assortment we provide products that are easily accessible at the level of convenience our customers are used to from our Fashion Store.”

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