Zalando unveils science-based targets, commits suppliers to set carbon goals

Online fashion retail platform Zalando has built on its commitment to carbon neutrality across its own operations by having targets to reduce operational carbon emissions by 80% and emissions from the production of private label products by 40% approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Zalando has committed to placing solar panels and low-carbon technology on all its new and existing fulfilment centres by 2023

Zalando has committed to placing solar panels and low-carbon technology on all its new and existing fulfilment centres by 2023

Zalando’s online platform caters to 28 million customers in 17 markets, and the committed to carbon neutrality in its own operations and all of its deliveries and returns late last year. Through energy efficiency measures and offsetting, Zalando has confirmed to edie that as of 30 October 2019, the company is net-zero emissions for Scope 1 and 2. 

Building on that commitment, Zalando has today (2 June) revealed new science-based targets that have been approved by the SBTi.

Zalando has committed to reducing operational carbon emissions by 80% by 2025, with carbon emissions from the production of private-label products set to be reduced by 40% in the same timeframe.

Additionally, Zalando has committed to having 90% of its key supplier set their own science-based targets. Last week, Zalando confirmed it will be the first retailer signed up to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to use a new module that will make sustainability assessments mandatory for its private labels and partner brands sold on its platform.

“Having our science-based targets approved is an important milestone for our sustainability strategy. We believe there is a clear link between sustainability and continued commercial success in selling fashion online,” Zalando’s director of sustainability Kate Heiny said.

“The global coronavirus situation has shown us how flexible and fast the economy can be when change is needed, and this should be used as a blueprint when it comes to sustainability. Now is the time for a clear sustainability strategy and ambitious goals. As a platform we want to do more and thus did not limit our science-based targets to our own business, but will join forces with our partners.”

Onsite drive

Zalando has committed to placing solar panels and low-carbon technology on all its new and existing fulfilment centres by 2023.

The company has recently switched to renewable energy to power 90% of its energy needs globally and carbon emissions that are not eliminated by operational improvements or green delivery options that are set to be rolled out will be offset.

Zalando avoided 40,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2018 compared to the year prior by switching to green electricity tariffs in its office buildings.

Alberto Carrillo Pineda, director, science-based targets at CDP, a partner of the SBTi, said: "We congratulate Zalando on becoming the first online platform to have its emissions reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

“By aligning its goals with a 1.5 degrees Celcius future, and asking its partners to set their own SBTs, Zalando is ensuring it builds resilience firmly into its business model and will be better placed to thrive as the global economy transitions to a zero-emissions future."

Matt Mace



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