Code of Conduct
Collaboration with every one of our business partners – whether they supply our own products or those of a brand partner – is based on the Group-wide Zalando Code of Conduct. This code defines the corporate values of Zalando and, based on this, sets out clear principles and requirements for each and every business partner in order to ensure responsible dealings with both people and the environment.
The Code of Conduct is based on the general declaration of human rights, the conventions of the international labor organization, and the principles of the UN Global Compact, and excludes any form of forced labor, child labor and discrimination. Moreover, it commits our business partners to compliance with statutory working hours and minimum pay, as well as to a guarantee of freedom of assembly and the right to collective negotiations.
Restricted Substances List
To protect customers, employees in production and the environment, Zalando sets out clear specifications for the suppliers of its own brands. This is in relation to the content of all products and the materials required for them. The Restricted Substances List (RSL) defines the threshold limits applicable to harmful substances which must not be exceeded by suppliers. The RSL forms part of our General Instructions which every supplier must sign when entering into business dealings with us.
The list was developed in 2011 in collaboration with TÜV Süd and TÜV Rheinland, since which time it has been constantly updated, supplemented and adapted to current requirements. As a result, the threshold values not only fulfil the statutory requirements, but in some cases are more comprehensive and stricter than actually required by law. The RSL list was last checked and confirmed by our testing laboratories in March 2015.
An important aspect in terms of the safety of our products is the raising of our employees' awareness of suspicious features. Our designers and buyers are therefore given extensive training on critical points within individual product categories. This relates to external brands as well as our own. Employees in Logistics and their colleagues in the production of images and texts for our shop are also made aware on a regular basis of product features that could indicate a safety risk. Suspicious items are taken offline immediately and tested by an independent institute.
Plant and product controls
When it comes to the production of our own brands we visit our partners in the country of production and check the plants directly. When goods arrive at our fulfillment centers in Germany, products are tested by independent testing institutes, in many cases by TÜV Rheinland and TÜV Süd. The higher the assessed risk of a product, the more extensive the tests and the higher the number of spot checks conducted. The assessed risk is derived from various factors, namely the country of origin, checks conducted at the manufacturing plant, previous test results and the price level.
In the case of leather products, we pay particular attention to compliance with the threshold values of Chrome VI. As far as we are concerned, the safety of our customers is paramount, so if articles are identified which represent a potential source of danger to our customers we withdraw them from the shop and carry out further tests. 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.
Supplier assessment & monitoring
We assess our suppliers on a regular basis according to specified criteria. The poorer the assessment of supplier in terms of the quality of its products, the more extensive our monitoring process. In this respect we adopt a consistent approach by which as soon as we have justifiable grounds for suspecting that a supplier is not sharing our own focus on product safety the collaboration is ended. Moreover, we have installed a monitoring system via various channels which helps us to quickly identify potential risks. This includes complaints from customers, a weekly inspection of the RAPEX list, current media reports on the subject, and a regular inspection of the shop for possible safety risks associated with the products, such as the length of cords used on children's clothing.