Not one day passes by without a press release from all kinds of brands on their sustainability goals. So it’s even more interesting to read what is happening on the retail side: This week we stumbled across announcements by German E-comm giant Zalando and UK retail big player John Lewis and their plans how to act more responsibly when it comes to waste management and CO2 emissions. Here are the details:
...on carbon emissions...
The billion-euro fashion platform has released a new sustainability strategy, titled ‘Do.More’ listing for example that it wants to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement already ahead of the agreement’s schedule. To achieve this Zalando cooperates with Science Based Targets, a global initiative that wants to help companies align their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions with climate science.
As part of that the online player wants to commit to carbon neutrality in its own operations and all deliveries and returns as of now. This includes self-operated properties, parcel transportation and packaging for example by piloting climate-friendly delivery options such as "Din Nabo" or e-bikes on the last mile.
By 2023, Zalando aims to design its packaging to minimize waste and keep materials in use, specifically eliminating single-use plastics.
The company states that already now Zalando boxes are made from 100% recycled materials, shipping bags from 80% recycled plastics and beauty bags switched to 100% recycled paper. It also launches a pilot to trial reusable packaging with RePack, a reusable packing service specially developed for ecommerce.
...on sustainable assortment
Zalando claims to already offer one of the largest assortments of sustainable fashion in Europe “with over 20,000 items from over 240 brands“. Recently, eco-responsible brands such as Ecoalf, Mud Jeans and Girlfriend Collective have been added. [Note of the editors: according to its own data Zalando currently lists more than 450,000 articles by more than 2,000 brands in its assortment]
Furthermore, by 2020 Zalando’s private labels target “to sourcing 50% certified sustainable cotton and 100% responsible viscose”.
By 2023, the Berlin-based company wants “to generate 20% of its GMV (gross merchandise volume) with more sustainable products” (specifications had not been unveiled though).
Among other targets, by 2023, Zalando wants to apply the principles of circularity and “extends the life of at least 50 million fashion products”. In 2019, the company forecasts to extend the life of approximately one million items through its resale platform, Zalando Wardrobe.
John Lewis & Partners’ goals
The UK retailer who operates 50 John Lewis shops across the UK as well as its e-shop has launched a pilot project at its Oxford shop to test eight ways in which the retailer and its customers can reduce their impact on the planet.
The shop has removed 5p plastic carrier bags to reduce the amount of plastic it produces. Instead, John Lewis wants to encourage customers to bring a bag, or buy a reusable one instead. The company claims, that “over a year this alone could save 5,000 tonnes of plastic”.
2. Reusable ‘Click & Collect’ packaging
The Oxford shop will also trial a reusable ‘Click and Collect’ bag made from 100% recycled materials. One in four orders will be delivered to the shop in these reusable bags, meaning customers will be handed their orders without any additional packaging.
3. Removal and recycling of ‘Click & Collect’ packaging
Partners will offer to keep and recycle the cardboard and single use plastic bags used to transport other ‘Click and Collect’ orders.
Furthermore, John Lewis & Partners has committed to making all of it own brand product packaging either easily recyclable or reusable by 2023.
4. Replacing bubble wrap with new recyclable packaging for china and glass items bought in the shop
In place of bubble wrap the retailer will trial new recyclable wrapping for china and glass products bought in the shop.
5. Recycling unwanted hangers from any brand or retailer
Customers will be encouraged to bring back any hangers they no longer need, so they can be reused or recycled.
6. Gift vouchers for customers who return empty beauty packaging
John Lewis Oxford will reward ‘My John Lewis’ membership cardholders who bring back empty beauty product packaging with gift vouchers. The beauty product-recycling scheme named ‘BeautyCycle’ was tested earlier this year and this week is being permanently introduced to 36 John Lewis shops, which have a Beauty Department.
7. Fashion BuyBack
Launched earlier this month ‘BuyBack’ rewards customers for bringing back up to three items of pre-loved clothing from any of the brands stocked by John Lewis in return for £3 per item.
Customers booking home deliveries with a shop Partner will be offered the chance to help reduce carbon emissions and traffic by selecting an ‘Eco-delivery’ slot when a van would be near their home.