As the leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle in Europe, Zalando is part of one of the most polluting industries. To become part of the solution instead of feeding into the problem, Zalando has committed to a net-zero carbon footprint. To achieve that, we are compensating all CO2 emissions from our own operations, deliveries and returns that are not yet eliminated by operational improvements such as more sustainable packaging or delivery options, via offsetting.
An important pillar of reducing our impact on the climate as much as possible is the switch to renewable energy sources. In 2018, for example, 40.000 tons of CO2 emissions have been avoided compared to 2017 by switching to green electricity in Zalando office buildings. Today, 90% of the energy across all Zalando locations come from renewable sources or is produced in a CO2 neutral way. To drive sustainability improvements at our fulfillment centers, “every fulfillment center will be equipped with solar panels or other green building technologies by 2023”, says Raimund Paetzmann, Vice President Corporate Real Estate. Additionally all new Zalando buildings will require a green building certification, which verifies that they are built in a way that conserves resources and generates fewer greenhouse emissions.
Zalando focuses on photovoltaic as an important source of energy. In July 2019, the fulfillment center in Lahr (Germany) installed solar panels, producing almost 800,000 kWh of power per year. This compares to the annual electricity consumption of around 200 households. With this installation alone an equivalent of 425 tonnes carbon per year can be avoided, which is comparable to the amount of CO2 emissions of a truck that travels around the world 18 times.
The fulfillment center in Verona also generates parts of its electricity with its own photovoltaic systems. The existing fulfillment centers in Moenchengladbach and Erfurt (Germany) will be retrofitted. Additionally our newest fulfillment center in Bleiswijk, near Rotterdam (Netherlands), will be equipped with solar panels, aiming to provide enough energy to run all operations on the 140,000 square meter center.
The effort that goes into turning every fulfillment center carbon neutral is immense: Besides developing standards for new buildings and retrofitting existing centres with solar panels, the analysis of other renewable and sustainable technologies plays an important role at Zalando. Raimund says: “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.”