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March 4, 2022

Zalando upped sustainability assortment in 2021

German fashion e-tailer Zalando expanded its sustainability assortment to more than 140,000 products in 2021, up from about 80,000 a year earlier.

By Fi Forrest

Berlin-based Zalando highlighted the achievement in its second Sustainability Progress Report, which is structured around the six goals in its do.More strategy.

“With our do.More strategy, we have set out our vision to have a net-positive impact for people and the planet. That means that we want to give back more to society and the environment than we take. While this means we need to transform our business, alongside our partners, we are passionate about taking on the challenge,” David Schneider, co-CEO says in the foreword of the report.

Among its other highlights of 2021 is a reduction of the company’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 64% against a 2017 baseline (compared to 64% in
2020). Zalando used 100% renewable electricity across its own operations.

Scope 3 emissions from private label products decreased by 45% per EUR1m gross profit from a 2018 base year (compared to 19% in 2020), while Zalando said 51% of its suppliers (by emissions, including the products it sells, packaging and last-mile-delivery partners) have set science-based targets (compared
to 34% in 2020).

Meanwhile, as part of its commitment by 2023, to apply the principles of circularity and extend the life of at least 50m fashion products, Zalando has, since 2020, extended the life of more than 2.3m fashion products (more than 1.9m in 2021).

In 2021, the company launched its first circularity strategy across four pillars: design and manufacture, use, reuse, and close the loop. As per its target, it defines “extend the life” as at least one circular action taking place during at least one of the four stages. Currently, its recommerce business is its main target contributor but Zalando says it is developing and testing solutions across all four stages.

Kate Heiny, director of sustainability at Zalando, spotlights the group’s Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) target which sees it we aim to have 25% of its GMV come from more sustainable products by 2023.

“We have spent time onboarding more sustainability-focused brands who can offer a larger range of more sustainable products, as well as working with key partners to expand their sustainability offerings, which is why we have seen our assortment of products carrying our sustainability flag nearly double from 80,000 in 2020 to 140,000 in 2021. Currently, 21.6% of our company GMV comes from more sustainable products, a 35% increase from last year,” she says in a statement.

Earlier this week, Zalando said it is on track with its 2025 growth plan, fuelled by strong customer growth in 2021.

Zalando said the company grew significantly faster than expected in 2021, positioning it well on track of its mid-term growth ambition to reach more than EUR30bn (US$40.2bn) Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) by 2025.

Commenting, Emily Salter, retail analyst at GlobalData, said: “One of [Zalando’s] points of differentiation is its focus on sustainability through its do.More strategy, through which it aims to be a sustainable fashion platform with a “net positive impact for people and the planet”. Circularity is one of its main focuses, and its Zircle resale platform, relaunched in Germany in October 2021, will be key to this as interest in resale rockets, so Zalando must roll this out to additional markets and boost consumer awareness of the platform to fully benefit.”   

Click here to access Zalando’s Sustainability Progress Report 2021 in full.

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