Zalando commits to onsite solar and green building certification across fulfilment centres

Zalando avoided 40

The German-based online retailer committed to carbon neutrality in its own operations and all of its deliveries and returns. Through energy efficiency measures and offsetting, Zalando confirmed to edie in October, that it was operating at net-zero emissions for Scope 1 and 2. 

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.

This week, the company has confirmed that it will turn to onsite solar generation and green building certification to improve procurement levels and drive down emissions while improving energy efficiency at its fulfilment centres.

Zalando’s vice president of corporate real estate Raimund Paetzmann said: “Every fulfilment centre will be equipped with solar panels or other green building technologies by 2023.

“We are continuously looking into new technologies that will help us reduce our environmental impact. We are committed to using only renewable or CO2 neutral energy in the future.”

Zalando, the online fashion and beauty platform that caters to 28 million customers in 17 markets, avoided 40,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2018 compared to the year prior by switching to green electricity tariffs in its office buildings.

Earlier this year, the company’s fulfilment centre in Lahr, Germany installed a solar array that produces almost 800,000 kWh of power per year – equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 200 households.

Solar panels are now being installed at Zalando’s Milan facility in Italy while the existing fulfilment centres in Moenchengladbach and Erfurt will be retrofitted with solar technology. The companies newest centre near Rotterdam in the Netherlands will be equipped with enough solar panels to provide energy to cover all operations on the 140,000 square meter centre.

Wider commitments

Alongside the net-zero target, Zalando will design its packaging to minimise waste and eliminate single-use plastics by 2023. Zalando already uses boxes made from 100% recycled materials and shipping bags consisting of 80% recycled plastics. Beauty bags have also been switched to 100% recycled paper.

Also set for 2023 is a target to apply circular economy principles that extend the life of at least 50 million fashion products. Zalando predicts that one million items will pass through its resale platform, Zalando Wardrobe, by the end of 2019.

In an interview with edie last month, Zalando’s director of corporate responsibility and sustainability Kate Heiny said that operating at net-zero emissions both operationally and across the value chain can act as a catalyst for businesses to truly move beyond mitigation and “less bad” to help regenerate the planet. Read the full interview here.

Matt Mace

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