A growing number of businesses are waking up to the need to take action in relation to the climate crisis and are looking for ways to make their current operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
If this is an area that you are exploring at the moment, you might want to look at other businesses to see what steps they’re taking, as this could help you identify the changes you could make at your organisation.
Internet Retailing recently reported that Zalando has launched a new fashion experience store that will allow customers to browse clothes based on the values they care about. The retailer is focusing on providing garments that are more sustainable.
This means customers can actively seek out clothing that is made using less water, that is made from reusing materials, or where worker wellbeing is a key focus for the manufacturer. There are also categories including animal welfare, reducing emissions and extending the life of fashion items.
As Fashion United reported last year, the global fashion industry produces nearly 20 per cent of all global wastewater and, according to a report published in 2017, consumed some 79 billion cubic metres of water.
These figures can be so huge it’s hard to quantify them, so the news provider noted that it takes an average of 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans and one T-shirt. To put that in context, the average person uses 30,000 gallons of water when they have a bath.
Many who champion sustainable values highlight the need for more of us to purchase pre-loved clothing and shoes, which is another area that Zalando is expanding into, Internet Retailing noted.
From April, seven new markets have been able to trade in and buy pre-owned fashion. These are Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Finland and Sweden.
It seems that focusing on more sustainable fashion could be having a positive effect on the retailer’s bottom line too, with the company reporting an increase in its gross merchandise volume (GMV) in the first quarter of this year.
David Schneider, co-CEO at Zalando, commented: “We aim for 25 per cent of our GMV to come from more sustainable products by 2023. During the coronavirus crisis, customers told us that shopping sustainably became more important to them than ever before.”
However, the firm’s research also found that many customers struggle to translate their sustainable values into tangible action when it comes to clothes shopping, which is something that Zalando hopes to address through its new offerings.
If your business is in the early stages of its sustainability journey, there are some simple changes you can make that could help. Arranging a water audit survey to find out where you could save water is a good place to start, as well as investigating the different options for your water supply.
Making sure that you purchase electricity from a supplier that uses renewable sources is another easy way to make a difference, as well as finding ways to reduce your energy usage such as by encouraging everyone to switch their computers off at the end of the working day rather than leaving them on stand-by, and to turn out all the lights.