Categories
Opinion

”An enterprise ought to be able to thrive forever, if it chooses to. For if you do not plan for it, expect it to fail eventually.”

Four years ago I wrote a blog post called ’The 300 Year Business Plan’ where I elaborated on the concept of long term thinking in the world of business. Now, at the very intersection between 2020 and 2021, it’s more relevant than ever to re-iterate this line-of-thought.

We leave a strange year behind us, however I see this as a great opportunity for reflection and introspection, re-evaluating not only yourself and the way you live, but also how you act in business or in your professional life. I think we can all agree that 2020 provided us with a pause, a break from over-consumption, unnecessary traveling and requestioning the whole value chain.

I

Most business today thrive on short term perspectives when it comes to revenue, profit and product-cycles, constantly pushing customers or consumers to buy as much as possible, faster and more often. Many of us are also trapped in a system, where quarterly planning (and profits) are fundamental to run a business. Now, of course I’m not arguing against running a business for great return-on-investments, but how sustainable is it really to do it as fast as possible and at what cost to our society and natural resources?

Years after writing the blog post I still like to play with the idea that no business is worth while unless it can survive for at least three hundred years. When I used to believe that chasing unicorns and building long term business didn’t go hand-in-hand, I now think there’s beauty in trying to do both. I mean the point of conscious capitalism is to make the best out of the system we live in; you can still aim for maximum shareholder value, and in the same time provide the highest level of sustainability. What is then the next step?

Carol Sanford is an expert on business design and have helped many companies in adopting regenerative principles. Regenerative business are not only sustainable but also have a net-positive contribution and have full transparency on the interconnectedness between the business and the world in which they operate.  According to Sanford a regenerative system is autonomous in its structures and processes, keeping all individuals focused on their contribution to the whole – every single action should benefit the whole system for the better. One of the most effective ways of doing that is through designing products and services so that when they are made and used by stakeholders, good things happen in the world.

Or as Gideon Rosenblatt, expert on the relationship between technology and humans, puts it:

— One of the first steps to building regenerative business is rejecting the idea that your business is just a piece of property designed to maximize returns for your external shareholders. A regenerative business views profits as critical, but not as something to be extracted to boost dividends and share price. Profits are a vital source of fuel to sustain your mission and the full network of stakeholders who fuel it.

Rosenblatt defines business in four categories: A) The Shareholder-Centric View of Business, B) Mission-Centric Organisations, C) People-Centric Organisations and D) Regenerative Business.

II

There is complexity in managing a company, especially in the long term. In a Harvard Business Review article, authors Kim C. Horn and Joseph Pine II elaborate:

— Leaders today need a better approach. We need first to understand enterprises, along with the humanity and activities that make them up. And this understanding must be developed in light of (i) economic value creation — the primary function of a business enterprise — and (ii) accepting the challenge that an enterprise ought to be able to thrive forever, if it chooses to. (For if your enterprise does not plan on thriving forever, expect it to fail eventually.)

According to Horn and Pine, there are seven laws of regenerative enterprises, that supports longevity as well. These ”laws”  are part of solid framework and guidance for business leaders, providing they can answer the fundamental questions

1. The Law of Potential: Who creates value for the enterprise?

Only the enterprise that unleashes potential, through meeting its workers’ innate needs, induces human engagement to its fullest.

2. The Law of Meaning: Why do people come together to create value within the enterprise?

Only the enterprise that infuses meaning, through a shared purpose, effects alignment among fully engaged workers.

3. The Law of Creativity: Where does enteprise create value?

Only the enterprise that liberates creativity, through applying intuition and exercising free will, regularly discovers opportunities for surprising wealth-producing innovations.

4. The Law of Learning: How does the enterprise create value?

Only the enterprise that invigorates learning — through exploring, exploiting, and orchestrating — generates the knowledge necessary to persistently create new value among infinite possibilities.

5. The Law of Humanity: What value does enteprise create?

Only the enterprise that enriches humanity, through the knowledge embedded in its business activities, creates offerings of unquestionable economic value.

6. The Law of Vitality: When does enterprise create value?

Only the enterprise that attains vitality, through its incessant destructive recreation, produces the wealth necessary to survive.

7. The Law of Coherence: In What Ways do these aspects collectively create value?

Only the enterprise that sustains coherence in all its aspects, through ongoing orchestration, regenerates itself to thrive indefinitely.

III

Hopefully you are now even more convinced that running a sustainable, even regenerative, business is the way of the future. Now comes the hard part; how would you proceed in writing your own 300 year business plan? And why 300? Well, it’s not the exact number that is the key here, it’s going beyond quarterly or short-term business planning. This is by no means going against running an iterative, flexible business, on the contrary the way to survive in the long-term is by continuous re-invention and adaptation.

So to put it short: What kind of vision do you have for your company? What role in society does it play? What contributions to the evolution of our people’s and the planet’s wellbeing can it have? How are the innovation cycles renewing themselves over time, without impacting nature’s ecosystem? How can you protect the company from market threats, competition and regulations? And so forth.

It’s not an easy task, but intellectually one of the most stimulating activities you will set out to do as a business leader and manager. Good luck!

Categories
News

Norwegian company Equinor invest $8bn in World’s largest offshore wind farm

The Dogger Bank project, located in the British parts of the North Sea, is set to be the biggest offshore wind farm in the world. The Dogger Bank farm is meant to generate 5% of the UK’s power demands and will do so by 2026, Reuter reports.

Norwegian oil giant Equinor has joined forces with SSE to pull this off, with a new investment of 6 billion pounds ($8.03 billion). This is a well-needed green step for the two companies. Especially for Equinor, as its oil production has damaged the environment since its founding in 1972.

— Reaching financial close on the two first phases of Dogger Bank is a major milestone, demonstrating our commitment to profitable growth within offshore wind. The extensive interest from lenders underpins the attractiveness of UK offshore wind assets and confidence in SSE and Equinor. As the wind farm’s future operator, we are proud to take this big step forward in delivering what will be the backbone of a growing wind hub in the North Sea, says Pål Eitrheim, Equinor’s executive vice president of New Energy Solutions.

SSE closed it’s last coal-fired power station earlier this year, in order to meet the UK’s ambitious plans of cutting 68% of their emissions by 2030.

— The UK’s 2030 ambition set out by the Prime Minister is among the most ambitious in the world and we’re excited about working alongside government to deliver it, said SSE’s chief executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies, according to Montelnews.

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News

Patagonia’s thoughtful anti-Black Friday campaign goes viral

You might have stumbled upon a clever marketing campaign from Patagonia over the weekend. The initiative from the American outdoor brand is named Buy Less, Demand More and hopes to inject some sustainable habits to its consumers, to halt fashion’s damage on our planet. Patagonia campaign manifesto reads:


We’re all screwed
So don’t tell us that we can imagine a healthy future
Because the reality is it’s too late to fix the climate crisis
And we don’t trust anyone who says
We need to demand a livable planet
Because we don’t have a choice

(Now read this bottom up).

The text was printed on posters that were plastered all around the world and took up full pages in some of the world’s biggest newspapers. Patagonia timed this campaign just before Black Friday, and the clever text takes a stand against the fashion world’s huge impact on global warming.

— We really believe that Black Friday, as a concept, is really unhealthy to our health and global health. The idea of consuming for the sake of consuming is completely opposite of where we need to go as a society in order to rein in our carbon footprint and be able to make a positive impact on this immense climate issue that we’re dealing with, Jenna Johnson, head of Patagonia, told InStyle.

At the same time, the campaign has received its share fair of criticism. It’s not the first time that Patagonia has been accused of greenwashing, and the Buy Less, Demand More campaign is no exception. Many people are taking to social media to question Patagonia’s way of shaming a fashion industry they are very much a big part of. The Harvard Business Review also writes that the buy less-call also can make for the opposite, and create a bigger revenue for Patagonia.

Categories
News

The New Sustainable Consumer — and her search for truth

https://cms.scandinavianmind.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Scandinavian-MIND-Report-–-The-New-Sustainable-Consumer.pdf

Categories
Opinion

”When you start with sustainability, you have no choice but exercise it every day”

Shidrokh Ghawami has been working as a skin therapist for 22 years, and she has gained a lot of experience on the way. And her view of the industry and is based on facts.

— Almost 15 years ago, I started to observe how the beauty industry is damaging all of us, both men and women. Born and raised in a family with both her father and uncle working with chemistry and dermatology, she’s followed her father practising medicine as well as manufacturing his own products, which were sold in many pharmacies.

— His way of practising medicine was different. Combining medicine and cosmetics in order to help his patients were the key to his success and this has influenced my values for all time. Ghawami claims the industry is manufacturing products based on what the marketing department says is good for sales.

— If there is a new ingredient which they can build a brand around, they produce it and call it the latest innovation. This has nothing to do with science or helping people. They put a lot of money to convince consumers that the product is groundbreaking and you are going to see results, and that’s why it costs $290 a jar. It’s of course not the truth and everybody in the industry knows it, but don’t dare to speak about it. Many brands from Japan are good examples of this — and I haven’t seen anyone stop ageing, despite using their products for many years.

Ghawami also states how depriving male consumers of good skincare products has been a crime.

— Poorly formulated cheap products or overpriced so-called premium bullshit has done nothing but confusing men ambitions using skincare.

A few years ago, you started your own brand, Cool Derma. How do you do things differently?

— I believe the product should be based on proven science and solve a problem. It should be formulated with maximum of beneficials for skin and body health. It should not contain unnecessary ingredients which are good for marketing — but harmful for the skin health. Both men and women deserve a well-formulated and high tech formula for daily care where your skin type is the main focus and not your gender. Skin health has no gender. We should produce locally and promote our own chemists and factories, so manufacturing Cool Derma in Sweden helps the industry to flourish. Sustainability is not a goal for us, but our start. When you begin with it, you have no choice but exercise it every day. We do that by producing less, buying less, useless, but gain the most. By giving the client what they need, we solve a problem with-out harming our planet or selling bullshit which ends up in our ocean.

Categories
Opinion

”It’s so much greenwashing out there!”

The owner of hair company Björn Axén and Chairman of Association of Swedish Hairdressing Businesses is frustrated about how the hair and beauty industry is not advancing faster in terms of sustainability. But, he also sees development.

— For example, now is the first time that I can use 100% recycled plastic in our bottles and be totally sure that the ingredients will not go through the packaging. We’ve used green plastic, made of sugarcane, before. It’s not 100 %, but it’s better. And we were one of the first to introduce our products in a refill packaging to reduce the plastics. Next spring, I hope that we’ll launch refill stations on all our salons, for the customers to fill a reusable bottle with shampoo and conditioner. The latest initiative also rewards customers when contributing.

— We’re the first hair company to work with PantaPå, about to change their name to Bower this December, a Swedish start-up aiming to allow any company to offer money back to their customers for each package they recycle. You download the app and when you get to the recycling station, you scan the code on our package and get 10 % off of a new product from us. The circle is closed and the empty bottle can be used to make a new one. We see how this encourages customers and invite big companies from all industries to be apart of it.

How do you think the beauty industry needs to transform itself?

— First of all, the companies producing ingredients need to take away the really harmful ones. Despite the tough EU regulations for what you put in a bottle, it’s sometimes ridiculous what ingredients are forbidden and which ones are not. Just like we need to work so much faster with better solutions for sustainable packaging, we need to be tougher with ingredients to accomplish real change. It’s so much greenwashing out there! But, most of all, the ones in power are the end consumers and as long as they don’t care about it so that the companies lose money, nothing will happen. I hope the younger customers will be a driving force here.

And how do you work to contribute to this transformation?

— During 12 years, no chemicals have left our salons. We collect everything and Stena Recycling takes care of it, to ensure it doesn’t end up in nature. We’ve also developed a system together with Stena to make it easy for every single hairdresser in our country to recycle their stuff, to do good and make a change. And we tell our producers and factories what changes they need to make in order to improve. If not, they’ll lose a hell lot of money. So they change. Thanks to the size of our company, we now have the power to make a change and then I believe it’s our responsibility to do so, says Hellström, adding;

— What frustrates me is how the world doesn’t understand that it should be cheap and easy to make the right choices and cost you time and money to choose bad stuff. Today, it’s quite the opposite. I’d like to create a new label for sustainable hair salons, to help customers make the right choice. That’s always a start!

Categories
Opinion

”Welcome to a conference about ideas and about change”

It’s merely one week until we launch the first issue of our biannual print magazine, which coincides with our first major event — The Transformation Conference. 

I couldn’t be more excited. I mean it. 

When we were putting together the magazine a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by how enormously exhilarated I was by the editorial world that we’ve built for ourselves. Coming from a person that has worked on editorial brands his entire career, including building them from scratch, that was saying something. I had to pause and ponder. Why did Scandinavian MIND feel more important, more valuable, and more substantial than anything I had ever worked on? 

I think it is because we decided that this magazine was going to be about real change. About what needs to happen in the fields we’re from — fashion, design, beauty, and culture. Inevitably, the first theme of our first season had to be Transformation. Every story had to be edited through the lens of innovation, technology, and sustainability. 

And that’s where it started getting really exciting. 

Because the most interesting fashion story is not about style, it’s about where what’s going to happen when clothes become digital, as witnessed by Fashion Innovation Center founder Fredrik Timour. And the most interesting story about beauty is not about aesthetics, it’s about the way we consider diversity, natural ingredients, and recycling, as evident by the thoughts of Daisy Beauty’s Kicki Norman and Björn Axén’s Johan Hellström. 

It sounds trite, but the best editorial idea I’ve ever had is to create a magazine about ideas and change. That is also what our upcoming conference is going to be about. You will hear from the people mentioned above, and many more from the fields of fashion, technology, and sustainability. You will hear our cover star Sophia Bendz talk about the need for a female approach to angel investing. And you will hear our editor-at-large Fredrik Ekström present our first-ever report The New Sustainable Consumer, that is being published and distributed alongside the magazine. 

So sign up and log in on Thursday, November 12, for a full day of live-streamed conversations with the best minds of Nordic fashion. As a participant, you will be able to ask questions to the speakers in real-time. And don’t forget to pre-order your own copy of Scandinavian MIND Issue 1 through our retail partner Papercut. 

I will see you next week. 

Categories
Opinion

”Scandinavia is at the forefront of sustainability, so we see this to be an important development market”

As part of our research report, The New Sustainable Consumer, where we want to create a better understanding of why and how consumers do or do not incorporate sustainability issues into their consumption behaviour. We’ve researched a large amount of existing quantitative consumer reports from around the world and conducted a wide range of interviews with industry experts. These experts have acted as our advisors, they are individuals dedicated to sustainability and add different perspectives to the research through their individual approach. The report will be presented at the Scandinavian MIND Transformation Conference 12 November. Click below to register.

We call them our ’voices of change’ and this time we turn to Uwe Kippschnieder and Lisa-Marie Jena, from the German brand CLOSED, to talk about how sustainability is a key factor in their DNA, why Scandinavia is an important market for sustainable brands and how the name CLOSED was born in 1978. 

CLOSED is also one of eight European brands that are currently relevant through Zalando’s collaboration to create a more sustainable capsule collection Small steps. Big impact. A capsule collection that guides consumers to make more sustainable decisions when it comes to fashion without compromising on style. Read about the full collection here.

First of all, could tell me about the brand CLOSED and how the name was born? 

The origin of the brand was born in 1968 by Marithe and Francois Girbaud. They gave their brand the name C’est ça. ‘ÇA’ for short,  with one clear idea, to launch Italy’s first denim label. That’s was it, hence the name C’est ça. The start of the brand could have gone better, and soon they found themselves entangled in a lengthy lawsuit ending up with that they had lost the rights to their name and had to rename the company. In 1978 when they got the letter from the court saying that the case was CLOSED, they decided to stick with that as a name. And the brand name CLOSED has stayed since then. 

Amazing story, how did sustainability be a part of your brand and why is it so important?  

— Well, we have been doing this for a long time, now sustainability has become a trend but for us it’s not, we have always had this mindset. We are a family business. That’s not just a fact, it is how we operate in everything we do, and it is a key element in our philosophy. Our philosophy is to manage the brand the same way businesses was managed in the old days when you did business with people close around you, who you like and trust.  This philosophy has shaped the brand since the start and works with our vision to create sophisticated, long-lasting design and that every stage from the sourcing to production is made as sustainable as possible. We want to produce our collections with less of an environmental impact and look upon all resources with respect. We want to do this with friends, and we want to do this now and for the future. So, we have as much as possible of our production close by in Europe, today it is around 80 %, and all our denim is produced in Italy. This includes trims, laundry and everything. 

”We want to do this with friends, and we want to do this now and for the future”

If I get it right you have a long relationship with your Italian partners creating the BETTER BLUE line of Denim? 

— Yes our jeans are made in close relationship with them and the joint know-how led to the development of our eco-friendly denim line A BETTER BLUE for a more sustainable jeans production. Almost all our jeans are crafted in collaboration with three production partners. Candiani, a traditional weaving company, which many refer to as the best (and greenest!) mill in the world, provides the fabric. A BETTER BLUE, Candiani uses cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative. Our jeans are then hand-sewn by Paul SPA, a family-run business. As there is an expert in every part of the process, a total of 22 different specialists are involved in the production of one single pair of CLOSED’s signature Pedal Pusher jeans. Since CLOSED is family-owned, we don’t have the same growth stress from investors. Instead, we can grow organically and sustainable together with our partners.  

How come you see Scandinavia as a potential market for Sustainable brands?

Uwe: — Scandinavia is at the forefront of sustainability. Before the Covid-19 crisis, we could see that it was mainly a trendsetting conscious consumer that engaged in our sustainability work and demanded products that were produced in a certain way. Now we see the consumer demand increase in all aspects surrounding sustainability and that Scandinavia is one of the regions where this change is happening faster than others.

Lisa: — We can see two different consumers engage with Closed. We have one group that has been with us for a long time. Long before Sustainability was a thing and considered trendy. They know about our DNA and engage because they know what we stand for and they have been with us for a long time. Then we have the new and younger consumers. They find us because sustainability has become a thing and they start searching for more sustainable brands. They feel that sustainability is the real deal and they want brands that are transparent and trustworthy in what they do. We see that Scandinavia is definitely at the forefront of this sustainable movement and a leading region in this topic. This makes Scandinavia an important development market that we want to approach with a sense of Hanseatic humbleness. 

This interview is part of our research for The New Sustainable Consumer — where we want to create a better understanding of why and how consumers incorporate sustainability issues into their consumption behaviour. We’ve researched a large amount of existing quantitative consumer reports from around the world and conducted a wide range of interviews with industry experts. These experts have acted as our advisors, they are individuals dedicated to sustainability and add different perspectives to the research through their individual approach. The report will be presented at the Scandinavian MIND Transformation Conference 12 November. Secure your free ticket to the online experience below.

Categories
Opinion

”We want to empower customers to make an informed decision”

As part of our research — The New Sustainable Consumer — where we want to create a better understanding of why and how consumers do or do not incorporate sustainability issues into their consumption behaviour. We’ve researched a large amount of existing quantitative consumer reports from around the world and conducted a wide range of interviews with industry experts. These experts have acted as our advisors, they are individuals dedicated to sustainability and add different perspectives to the research through their individual approach. The report will be presented at the Scandinavian MIND Transformation Conference 12 November.

We call them ’our voices of change’ and today it’s time to meet Kate Heiny, Director for Sustainability at Zalando, one of the fastest-growing multi-brand retailer and fashion marketplace in the world. She has worked in leading positions for sustainability at Target Corp and C&A, and has been supporting The Sustainable Apparel Coalition as a board director for six years before joining Zalando as Director of sustainability in 2019. Together with her team, she is responsible for bringing Zalando’s Corporate Sustainability Strategy to life and in driving actionable measures in becoming a sustainable fashion platform, with a net-positive impact for people and the planet. 

Kate and her team are currently relevant through Zalando’s collaboration with eight European designers to create a more sustainable capsule collection. The collection is a following of the successful launch Small steps. Big impact.. The concept has expanded to include both men’s and women’s clothing. This time, the collection has been put together by eight European brands; Closed, Designer’s Remix, Henrik Vibskov, Holzweiler, House of Dagmar, Mother of Pearl, Mykke Hofmann and Progetto Quid. The mission is to guide consumers to make better sustainable decisions when it comes to fashion without compromising on style. Read about the collection here.

Why is sustainability so important for Zalando?

— We know that the fashion industry is facing huge, complex challenges. The planet is suffering from the effects of climate change and unsustainable use of resources. Human rights and working standards are under threat. We also know that we have been part of the problem. Now we need to be part of the solution. At the same time, we know that both our current and future customer base are calling for more sustainable choices in fashion. Nine out of ten Generation Z consumers believe companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues. The immediate significance is clear for a customer-centric company like Zalando; we must serve the customer’s needs if we want to be the Starting Point for Fashion. By committing to sustainability, we can secure our long-term growth, stay relevant to our customers and establish market-leading differentiation against our competitors. Together with our people, partners and customers, we’ll take a stand, style with care and shape our future. 

How is this being implemented throughout Zalando mission and businesses practices 

— I think we can all agree that ‘less bad’ isn’t good enough so our ambition is clear. [The initiative] do. MORE is our vision to be a sustainable fashion platform with a net-positive impact for people and the planet. It means all of us giving more than we take. Improving our business is one part of how we achieve our vision, but it will also mean reaching further; right across the value chain. From beginning-to-end, we recognize our influence on how brand partners to source and make their products, and how our customers buy and care for them later. This is the beginning, and we’ve thought carefully about how we’ll get there. Our plan has three parts: 

1. It starts by taking a stand on the most important issues today — climate change, use of resources and worker rights. We’re raising the bar, acting first and bringing our brand partners on the journey with us.​ ​As a part of our commitment, we’re tackling climate change head-on by reducing our carbon footprint and releasing​ science-based targets​ ​in line with the 1,5 °C Paris Agreement goal. Furthermore, we are working together with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to set new sustainability standards for brands and retailers. ​Zalando is the first retailer ​to make sustainability assessment mandatory for its private labels and partner brands on the basis of the Higg Brand and Retail Module. By leveraging our position as a leading platform with more than 2500 brands, we can scale and promote the initiative and drive lasting sustainability improvements across the industry using a unified system of measurement. 

2. One challenge is that sustainable fashion is still not widely available, and it can be a complicated and confusing topic. We want to change that​. ​We’re making it easy for people to shop brands they want to — big and small — sustainably, while also ensuring that our customers have the inspiration and information they are looking for, all in one place. We want to empower customers to make an informed decision. Today we have over 40.000 articles flagged with sustainability from more than 650 brands. This makes up more than 10% of Zalando’s GMV, bringing us closer to our goal of growing this share to 20% by 2023. 

3. Beyond this, we want to shape our future. We’re experimenting and collaborating across the industry to create a circular fashion system. And we’ll make sure our workforce has the skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world. We just took a big step on our circularity journey when we recently launched the pre-owned category in Germany and Spain. This new offer caters to both, customers who want to shop and those who want to trade in pre-owned articles for credit on Zalando. All of this comes with the look, feel and unmatched convenience of Zalando, making this highly-anticipated offering available to millions of customers across Europe. The category will be rolled out to customers in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Poland in October. 

”As a part of our commitment, we’re tackling climate change head-on by reducing our carbon footprint and releasing​ science-based targets​ ​in line with the 1,5 °C Paris Agreement goal.”

With the increase in demand for sustainable practices. Have you noticed an increase in the status of the sustainability manager in the fashion industry?

— For us, sustainability is more important than ever and in the context of COVID, the focus on sustainability has increased even more. The current crisis demands that companies accelerate their progress on sustainability initiatives in order to pave a better future for people and the planet and to be competitive in the market that will emerge from the pandemic. It simply goes hand in hand – companies need to be successful and sustainability is necessary for success​. 

If someone wants to become a successful sustainability manager that stands ready for the next normal. What guiding words would you pass on to that person?  

— First, understand your core business model. Second, understand your material sustainability issues, and third, define a clear strategy based on these priorities and with measurable goals.

What role do you think that the online multi-brand retailers should have in regard to a sustainable transformation?

— To us at Zalando sustainability means balancing economic growth with the impact we have on people and the planet. As a platform, we want to enable customers to make more sustainable choices and incentivize brands to produce the offering. With over 34 million customers in 17 markets and more than 2500 brand partners, we want to use our scale and technology to take the lead in building the connections needed to transform the industry to the better.​ ​Our collaboration with SAC is a good example of how we as a platform can use our size to scale and promote initiatives and drive lasting sustainability improvements across the industry. 

We can see a huge increase in sustainability as an image-building asset for consumers to express themselves. Is this something that you can see at Zalando?

— We know that sustainability is an important topic for our customers. As already mentioned, nine out of ten Generation Z consumers believe companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues. We can also see this reflected in our sales. In Q2 2020, more than 35% of Zalando customers bought more sustainable fashion and we see up to 30% higher conversion rate when products are flagged with sustainability. 

”Nine out of ten Generation Z consumers believe companies have a responsibility to address environmental and social issues.”

Can you see any changes in the sustainable consumer preferences pre- and post-corona at Zalando? 

— We have seen a steady increase in the share of customers that are buying items from our sustainability assortment, and this has continued despite the coronavirus crisis. Our internal research has shown that sustainability has become more important for 34% of our customers while 38% say that brand transparency has become more important. 

Do you know what the consumer values the most when they search for sustainable products at Zalando? How are factors like price, eco-facts, eco-storytelling, labelling etc playing a role for consumers when searching and choosing products?

— This is definitely something that we are researching in order to understand our customer’s needs even better. So far, we can see that our efforts to make it easier for our consumers to find and shop more sustainable products has led to an increased share in sales of more sustainable products (currently 10% of our GMV, our goal is to reach 20% by 2023). However, price value and fit are still the most important factors for consumers and sustainability only comes after that. 

This interview is part of our research for The New Sustainable Consumer — where we want to create a better understanding of why and how consumers incorporate sustainability issues into their consumption behaviour. We’ve researched a large amount of existing quantitative consumer reports from around the world and conducted a wide range of interviews with industry experts. These experts have acted as our advisors, they are individuals dedicated to sustainability and add different perspectives to the research through their individual approach. The report will be presented at the Scandinavian MIND Transformation Conference 12 November. Secure your free ticket to the online experience.

Kate and her team are currently relevant through Zalando’s collaboration with eight European designers to create a more sustainable capsule collection. The collection is a following of the successful launch Small steps. Big impact. The concept has expanded to include both men’s and women’s clothing. This time, the collection has been put together by eight European brands; Closed, Designer’s Remix, Henrik Vibskov, Holzweiler, House of Dagmar, Mother of Pearl, Mykke Hofmann and Progetto Quid. The mission is to guide consumers to make better sustainable decisions when it comes to fashion without compromising on style. Read more about the Capsule below.

Categories
News

Zalando launch sustainability-focused capsule collection

As people’s values are becoming more infused in their shopping habits, consumers are getting more environmentally and socially conscious, turning to brands and retailers that not only talk about responsibility but also demonstrate it by inviting the consumers to their community and collaborations. 

— We know that both our current and future customer base is calling for more sustainable choices in fashion. Together with our people, partners and customers, we’ll take a stand, style with care and shape our future, says Kate Heiny Director of sustainability at Zalando

Following the successful launch of the first Small steps. Big impact. collection in January 2020, Zalando has expanded the concept to include both men’s and women’s clothing. This time, the collection has been put together by eight European brands; CLOSED, Designer’s Remix, Henrik Vibskov, Holzweiler, House of Dagmar, Mother of Pearl, Mykke Hofmann and Progetto Quid.

Zalando combines some of the most creative and innovative stars from the fashion industry to create a collection of 116 different garments. The contributing brands from Scandinavia, Germany, the UK, and Italy were selected based on their values ​​around sustainability and were asked to create a conscious collection under a common aesthetic, with a focus on using materials from sustainable sources. Small steps. Big impact. encourages a constructive conversation to work towards a more sustainable fashion industry. Uwe Kippschnieder is the denim developer at CLOSED and knows that the collection is important.

— Scandinavia is at the forefront of sustainability. Before the Covid-19 crisis, we could see that it was mainly a trendsetting conscious consumer that engaged in our sustainability work and demanded products that were produced in a certain way. Now we see the consumer demand increase in all aspects surrounding sustainability and that Scandinavia is one of the regions where this change is happening faster than others, he says.

”Human rights and working standards are under threat. We also know that we have been part of the problem”

The capsule collection repeats the message of Zalando’s sustainability strategy for 2023, entitled do.MORE, which was launched in October last year. Zalando acknowledges that the fashion industry contributes enormously to the negative environmental impact in the world and strives to be part of the solution. The company wants to use its scope, its contacts, its scale and its technology to influence positive change in the fashion industry and become a sustainable platform with a positive impact on people and the planet.

— We know that the fashion industry is facing huge, complex challenges. The planet is suffering from the effects of climate change and unsustainable use of resources. Human rights and working standards are under threat. We also know that we have been part of the problem. Now we need to be part of the solution, concludes Kate Heiny.

Interested in getting the full picture of the New Sustainable Consumer report?  Secure your free ticket to the live stream experience — Scandinavian MIND Transformation Conference on November 12.