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Zalando SBTs: reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent before 2025

By Simone Preuss

2 Jun 2020

Online fashion retailer Zalando has realised the need of the hour and maintains sustainability as a focus area even in times of the coronavirus crisis. As the first platform worldwide, Zalando is therefore setting itself Science Based Targets (SBTs) for reducing carbon emissions in line with the 1.5 degree Celsius target of the Paris Agreement. By 2025, the company aims to cut 80 percent of carbon emissions from its own operations and 40 percent from private label production; 90 percent of Zalando's key partners are also requested to set themselves SBTs by 2025.

“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,” comments Kate Heiny, Director Sustainability Zalando SE in a press release published on Tuesday morning.

Zalando recognises connection between sustainability and continued commercial success

In order to achieve these targets, Zalando works with the independent organisation Science Based Target initiative, which evaluates and approves the SBTs of companies and ensures that they are in line with the Paris Agreement. Zalandos also hopes that, through its platform model and size, it would have a positive influence on a large part of the fashion industry and the majority of its partners, thereby exerting an impact on the entire value chain.

“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,” explains Heiny.

"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 Celsius 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," says Alberto Carrillo Pineda, director, Science Based Targets at CDP, a partner of the Science Based Targets initiative, in the press release.

Zalando’s targets: Reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent; 90 percent of partners to follow suit

Zalando has set up two SBTs: The first is the commitment to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2025 against a 2017 base year and to increase the annual sourcing of renewable electricity from 34 percent in 2017 to 100 percent by 2025. To this end, all locations (office buildings and fulfillment centres) are to be supplied with electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar panels. In addition, existing logistics centres are to be retrofitted to make them 10 percent more energy-efficient and all new logistics centres are to be operated in a climate-neutral way.

The second target is the commitment to reduce scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions of private label products by 40 percent per million euros gross profit by 2025 from a 2018 base year. The proportion of recycled materials in these products is to be increased to further reduce carbon emissions. The online retailer also commits that 90 percent of its suppliers by emissions covering purchased goods and services sold on its platform, packaging and last-mile-delivery partners will have science-based targets by 2025.

A few days ago, Zalando had announced a new global sustainability standard in collaboration with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Higg Co. This makes Zalando the first retailer to use SAC’s updated version of the Higg Brand & Retail Module (Higg BRM). The company will also make sustainability assessment mandatory for brands selling on its platform.

Photo: Zalando