• JD.com has started the fourth round of its clothing recycling programme. 
  • New initiatives will see the retailer donate more collections to charity and research biodegradable packaging solutions.

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has launched the fourth round of its clothing recycling programme, which will donate some collections to charity organisations, and is investigating the use of biodegradable packaging solutions.

The initiative, which has gathered around 1m garments since its inception in 2016, sees the company collect used clothing from customers using its retail logistics network, before partnering with organisations to either redistribute the clothing for reuse in impoverished areas of China or to recycle the fabric.

In the latest drive, JD.com says some clothing collections will also be donated to charity organisations to be sold.

The company is also researching biodegradable packaging, and says it is constantly looking for other ways to reduce e-commerce waste. Two years ago JD.com switched to thinner strips of tape, saving over 10m metres of tape so far.

Work is ongoing with 83 suppliers to develop more environmentally-friendly products by using more recycled materials and reducing use of plastics. JD.com also has worked with 21 merchants to donate money directly to the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council when customers purchase orders on its platform.

"The e-commerce revolution is changing people's lives for the better," says Libo Ma, head of CSR department at JD.com. "But it is also an opportunity to change the culture of consumption."

The expanded programmes come as JD.com, the only e-commerce company in the world to operate a nationwide, in-house logistics network, is in the midst of converting its fleet of 2,000 delivery vehicles to electric vehicles in China. It is also working with partners to convert hundreds of thousands of others in the next three years, which would save several million tons in emissions per year.

In partnership with WWF and Tencent Foundation, the company is participating in Earth Hour with the expansion of its ongoing efforts to reduce consumption-related waste and to make e-commerce more environmentally sustainable.

"Earth Hour isn't just about turning off the lights for 60 minutes," adds Ma. "It's a reminder for us as both businesses and as individual consumers to always be aware of our impact on this planet. It's a moment to look at what more we could and should be doing."

Earlier this year, JD released its Trends in Green Consumption Development report. Based on insights from customers, the report reveals increasing consumer demand for green products, and the retailer has responded by introducing more green products on its platform.