What measures is Zalando taking in respect of product safety?
The safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority. We have therefore implemented a number of measures to provide the best possible guarantee that both our own-brand and external-brand products are safe. In terms of our own brands, we maintain the Restricted Substances List (RSL) which defines the threshold values that are applicable to harmful substances and which must therefore not be exceeded by our suppliers. The RSL was drawn up in collaboration with TÜV Süd and TÜV Rheinland, and constitutes part of the General Instructions every supplier must sign when entering into a business relationship with Zalando. Furthermore, we carry out regular checks of the production facilities and maintain close contact with the manufacturers. As soon as goods arrive in Germany we ensure that products are tested by independent international testing institutes. The higher the assessed risk for a product, the greater the extensive testing and the more spot checks performed.
Our general Code of Conduct applies to external brands and must be accepted by every business partner of Zalando. In addition, suppliers are assessed according to specific criteria . The poorer the outcome of this assessment, the more spot checks Zalando conducts to ensure product safety – including for external brands.
One other important aspect is the training that our employees receive. Buyers, designers and all other employees who are in direct contact with our products are regularly made aware of critical aspects of individual product categories.
Suspicious articles are withdrawn from the shop immediately in order to undergo further testing. Such articles do not go back on sale until we are able to rule out any risk to customers and employees, and also the possibility that the product will not be marketable.
How is animal hide processed for clothing and shoes?
Leather is manufactured by means of a lengthy process involving the tanning of raw animal skins. The leather is tanned in a multi-stage process in which between 20 to 50 different chemicals are used. These tanning agents are "preserving agents" with which the leather is made durable, in order, for example, to prevent it from decomposing and rotting. Chrome tanning with chrome (III) salts is the tanning process most widely used today. Chrome (III) is not classified as a hazardous chemical.
Following tanning, the skins are dyed, imprinted, embossed and processed accordingly for industrial processing. The treated leather then enters the processing plants in the form of so-called skins. Here it is cut and processed to make shoes, bags and components for clothing.
How are the materials converted into leather goods?
The tanning process itself is normally carried out in accordance with industry standard chrome (III). If this fails due to errors in the tanning process, incorrect use of chemicals or erroneous follow-up treatment, the harmless chrome (III) can change afterwards to chrome (VI) through the effect of heat, light, moisture and ageing of the leather.
What is involved in the delivery chain for leather products in the Zalando shop?
The tanneries deliver the already processed leather to the producers of shoes, accessories and clothing. The leather is then cut up and processed to make shoes, bags and components for clothing. As a rule, these producers work for different brands and dealers who sell the goods under their own brand names. Since it started to produce its own brands, Zalando has worked closely with internationally established suppliers in Europe and Asia.
What is the RAPEX list, and why do Zalando shoes appear in it?
RAPEX was introduced as an EU warning system for consumers. It includes not only products for which a recall has been imposed, but also recalls reported on the company's own initiative. Since late April, five Zalando shoe models have appeared in the RAPEX EU warning system as part of a voluntary recall campaign.
What happens when a product is recalled?
The obligation to recall a product exists only if a product that has already been sold is subsequently classified as hazardous. Generally speaking, manufacturers, suppliers and even dealers can recall products. When a product is recalled, all customers who purchased the products concerned are informed of the recall and the associated hazards. Moreover, customers have the option of sending back a product that they have bought so that the purchase price can be reimbursed by the seller.