Kate Heiny, Director Sustainability at Zalando, elaborates, “Our customers tell us that they care deeply about sustainability, but they struggle to translate their values into actions when they go into stores or shop online. Our role as a platform is to enable ourselves, our brand partners, and our customers to make more sustainable choices, inspire collaborative action and long-lasting change. That’s why we produced this report, which we can all learn from: Zalando, the fashion industry, and consumers. This report brought us to the conclusion that if we really want to close the long-existing attitude-behavior gap in fashion, collaboration is the only way forward. We have to come together; the fashion industry and our consumers.”
Zalando aims to lead by example and has already implemented one of the report’s recommendations: “Speak a sustainability language everyone can understand.” The recommendation is based on the finding that every second consumer doesn’t understand what sustainability means in a fashion context. Through a new experience in the fashion store customers are now able to browse based on the values they care about, such as water conservation, worker wellbeing, reusing materials, animal welfare, reducing emissions, and extending the life of fashion. In 2018, Zalando had already started flagging products that are made from more sustainable materials or production practices with its sustainability flag. Today, this more sustainable assortment consists of over 80,000 articles from more than 500 brands. With the launch of this new browsing experience, Zalando takes a step further in the platform’s quest to help customers better understand sustainable fashion and make more informed fashion choices.
Besides recommendations for the fashion industry, the report also contains suggestions that may help consumers embrace sustainability in their fashion decisions. The report predicts that consumers will focus more on circularity in fashion over the next decade, including multiple topics such as recycling, reuse, resale, repair, and rentals. One step Zalando is taking to cater to this growing customer interest is to roll out the Pre-owned offer to 7 additional markets. From April 22 onwards, customers in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden will be able to quickly and effortlessly trade in and buy pre-owned fashion directly on Zalando with the same convenience in shipping, payment, and returns known to Zalando’s customers.