Zalando Joins Ellen MacArthur Foundation Network to Accelerate Circular Economy for Fashion

BERLIN, January 28, 2021 // Zalando joins the world's leading circular economy network by signing its membership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This new collaboration is in line with the platform’s commitment to applying the principles of circularity and extending the life of at least 50 million fashion products by 2023. The Ellen McArthur Foundation aims to accelerate the global transition into a circular economy, which is based on three principles: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. Since its creation in 2010, the UK-based foundation has emerged as a global thought leader, putting the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers in business, politics, academia and institutions to mobilize solutions at scale, globally. 


Zalando’s Head of Circularity, Laura Coppen, says: “Our vision is to be a sustainable fashion platform with a net-positive impact for people and the planet. As Europe’s leading platform for fashion and lifestyle, we collaborate with our industry to drive change and shape a more sustainable and circular economy. By joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Network, we can collaborate more closely with circular economy experts and organisations from different industries who are also part of it. We are contributing our ability to scale ideas, our tech know-how and access to over 3,000 brands and over 35 million customers. We believe that we can make a difference together.”


Joe Murphy, Network Lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, adds: “We are delighted to welcome Zalando to our Network. In order to accelerate the transition to a circular economy for fashion, Zalando has pledged to apply the principles and practices of a circular economy and extend the life of at least 50 million items by 2023. We hope to accelerate this journey by helping the platform leverage our Network of potential collaborators.”


The membership is a new initiative under the umbrella of Zalando’s sustainability strategy do.MORE, which was launched in October 2019. Since then, Zalando has already implemented several circular business practices. In 2019, Zalando extended the life of 1 million fashion items through Zalando Zircle, a digital application for selling and buying pre-owned clothes. To scale the successful offer, Zalando launched the new “Pre-owned” category in its online shops in 2020, curating an assortment of pre-owned items and enabling customers to trade-in their own new-like items directly on the platform. The seamless integration of “Pre-owned” into the Zalando online shop makes it as easy and enjoyable for customers to buy and trade-in pre-owned items as it is to shop for new clothes.


In addition to scaling in-house solutions, Zalando continues to support startups working on innovative approaches for a more sustainable and circular fashion industry. For example, by continuing our membership with Fashion for Good to support technologies and business models that have the potential to transform the industry through their Innovation Platform. Through this program, Zalando has teamed up with Berlin-based startup, to develop the “redeZIGN for Circularity” capsule collection. On top of that, Zalando collaborates with the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in order to collaborate and drive change in the industry. 


Another focus area in Zalando’s sustainability strategy is sustainable packaging. By 2023, Zalando wants to contribute to circularity by designing its packaging in ways that minimize waste, keep materials in use and eliminate single-use plastics. Zalando boxes are made from 100 percent recycled cardboard, and “beauty bags” consist of 100 percent recycled paper.  

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