European e-tailer Zalando has taken a major step forward in driving a more sustainability-focused retail sector post-pandemic. It said it’s the first retailer to use the Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM) from the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and is making sustainability assessment mandatory for its private labels and partner brands.
The firm is expanding those private labels and its links with partner brands very quickly. And the obligation to meet sustainability standards puts pressure on both the company itself and on any brands that want to deal with it to embrace eco and ethical principles.
The company said, “this initiative moves the industry closer towards a system of standardized measurement that drives meaningful and lasting improvement”.
The new collaboration aims to “accelerate a global sustainability standard in the fashion industry”.
As part of this push toward industry-wide change, the e-tailer will gather comparable sustainability data from its partner brands to “understand where the challenges of the industry are both individually and collectively”. And Higg BRM data will help it “identify trends and explore how to develop solutions to drive meaningful and lasting improvement in collaboration with its partner brands”.
The Higg BRM tool helps companies assess their performance in areas such as human rights, fair wages, and carbon dioxide emissions.
“As Europe’s leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle, we want to raise the bar, act first and bring our partners on the journey to address today’s most important issues: climate change, use of resources and worker rights,” Zalando said. “As part of our sustainability strategy, do.MORE, we have made assessments around ethical and sustainable parameters for our brand partners mandatory.”
And SAC Executive Director Amina Razvi added that “Zalando’s decision to require its partner brands to use the Higg BRM will serve as a catalyst for bringing the industry together towards a standard system for sustainability measurement. This is how we can implement and achieve lasting change.”