How we achieve carbon neutrality in our own operations and all deliveries and returns
Zalando is committed to reducing its environmental impact as much as possible. We believe that "less bad" isn’t good enough anymore. Only net zero will do. That’s why, from today onwards, we will be carbon neutral in our own operations, all deliveries and returns. While we’re working towards reducing our actual carbon footprint as a company, an important part of achieving this is carbon offsetting, a process by which carbon emissions are compensated with a reduction of emissions made by someone else and often somewhere else.
One ton of carbon offset represents the reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide. By purchasing carbon offsets, we fund projects that compensate significant amounts of carbon emissions. We carefully chose our first partner, Soddo Ethiopia, to offset our carbon emissions. The Gold Standard certified project reestablishes the region’s natural forests. By strengthening their local ecosystems, carbon emissions are taken out of the atmosphere. In the future, we will work with more Gold Standard certified reforestation initiatives.
How Reforestation Can Fight Climate-Change
Forests are vital for humanity. They provide the most important carbon storage next to oceans. They remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by turning it into solid carbon through photosynthesis and storing it in tree trunks, branches, roots, and soil.
Customers of Zalando can now choose climate-neutral delivery by opting-in to contribute a small fee of 0.25 ct incl. VAT for each order they place to compensate for the carbon emissions from the packaging, transport, and delivery of their items. Choosing a climate-neutral delivery is as simple as clicking one box during checkout.
Carbon offsetting is an integral part of our commitment, but we won’t stop there. Our ultimate goal is carbon emission reduction. We will continue to move the fashion industry forward by setting Science Based Targets in 2020. The Science Based Targets Initiative is a global initiative that helps companies align their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions with climate science and the Paris Climate Agreement to limit the increase of the global average temperature to 1.5°C. With the help of Science Based Targets, we will work out long-term goals to improve the health of both the planet and people that we can realistically reach by 2025.
The Complex Challenge of Going 100% Carbon Neutral
We are a European company collaborating with a large number of customers, partners and suppliers across the globe. Included in our own operations are all of our Zalando offices and our own fulfillment centers. These are our scope 1 and 2 emissions, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Outside of our own operations, and therefore within scope 3, are our partner brands and their suppliers and manufacturers, logistics centers that aren’t run by Zalando, and most delivery service providers. Apart from scope 1 and 2 we are also offsetting our own packaging, transportation between logistics centers and customer deliveries and returns in our scope 3.
Avoiding Carbon Emissions With Green Energy
The best way to avoid emissions is to not create them in the first place. We have switched to renewable energy in all offices and fulfillment centers in Germany and Poland.
As a result, 90% of the energy we source across all Zalando locations now comes from renewable sources. Furthermore, since the beginning of this year, we use carbon-neutral gas to heat our logistic centers.
In addition to that, we have installed photovoltaic systems at our logistics center in Lahr to generate our own green electricity to complement the green energy we source from external suppliers. The new fulfillment center in Verona also generates some of its electricity with its own photovoltaic systems. Photovoltaic systems are solar panels that absorb raw energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. We are currently installing more solar panels in our second Italian location, Milan.