Fashion has been known to be the second most unsustainable industry and top violator of labor rights, but even with these negative accolades many brands are striving to turn around these facts. Recently, Farfetch, the British-Portuguese online luxury fashion retail platform launched its 2030 goals, a 10-year sustainability strategy and move of luxury fashion online sales to accelerate the industry’s drive towards more sustainable and inclusive business practices. This came after the platform saw rapid growth of online luxury sales during last year’s global lockdown.
And that growth continues. In December 2020 Farfetch’s shares rose to 16.8% according to Nasdaq (with data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence), after it was reported that Alibaba Group Holding and luxury goods company, Richemont would form a joint venture with Farfetch called Farfetch China, bringing total investments over $1.1 billion.
Called ‘Positively Farfetch’ this decade long strategic goal aims to increase the diversity and efficiency of the business. Overseeing its implementation is an ESG committee of the Board of Directors, which includes CEO and Chairman José Neves and Board members Stephanie Horton and Diane Irvine. “As a platform for the luxury industry we are uniquely positioned to enable positive change in many different ways. That’s why we called our sustainable business strategy ‘Positively FARFETCH’ – because we want to be, not just any platform, but the platform for good in luxury – a platform that enables and empowers everyone we work with to think, act and choose positively,” said Neves in a recent statement.
Outlining their sustainability goals in 4 areas
First, the company will drive the company’s carbon footprint to zero, by for example, using efficient packaging and increased use of renewable energy. Packaging and flying products are what make any businesses carbon footprint huge, yet they are dedicated to becoming a climate positive business. Focusing on their logistic network, a network with 44% of the company’s emissions related to shipping and returns, Farfetch has thousands of sellers taking care of their own shipping orders.
To decrease emissions, Farfetch is increasing packaging and supply chain efficiencies and the use of renewable energy in their operations. New packaging is being introduced to make sure items are being shipped in appropriately sized boxes to reduce emissions and paper waste. To do this they must economically offset to reduce their environmental impact, and they’re doing this by supporting forestry and renewable energy projects. The company has also shifted to Forest Stewardship Certification materials that require less tape.
Second, Farfetch is promoting products that are independently recognized or certified as being ‘consciously’ better for humanity, the planet, and animals. According to the company, “by 2030, we aim to drive all fashion product revenues on the Farfetch marketplace, Browns, NGG and Stadium Good from 100% conscious products that will be independently accredited and recognized ‘conscious’ products as such e.g. organic, recycled, upcycled, pre-owned, fair-trade or products from independently rated ‘conscious’ brands such as those rated positively by leading ethical ratings group Good On You.”
Third, helping customers to extend the life of their clothes and promoting the reduction of waste through resale, donations, repairs or made-to-order. Services like ‘Farfetch Secondlife’ and ‘Farfetch Donate’, have helped customers extend the life of their clothes. These two services will be expanded into two markets. The company is also investing in selling pre-owned luxury items as of September 2020.
There’s also dedication to ensure an anti-discriminatory and consciously inclusive culture at Farfetch, for their place in the industry.
“We operate at the intersection of fashion, technology and sustainability,” said Thomas Berry, the Director of Sustainable Business at Farfetch- in a statement. “These worlds were already merging before the global lockdown, but the move to online is accelerating rapidly as a result. Setting some ambitious long-term goals is the logical next step in the company’s sustainability journey. We’ve done so much since we launched our ‘Positively FARFETCH’ strategy and program, from ‘Climate Conscious Delivery’ and our ‘Conscious Edit’, to services like ‘FARFETCH Secondlife’. Building on all of this, our new 2030 goals are designed to benefit and inspire all of our stakeholders.”
“A credible, granular environmental and social program, with clear long-term goals is important for all our stakeholders,” said Neves. “For investors, it is an increasingly important part of management’s report card; for business partners, it is part of the service we provide; customers want to see us taking action and so do staff. Last year we saw an accelerated move of luxury fashion sales online, which has only increased the need to prioritize our work in this area and has provided us with the opportunity to embed sustainable and inclusive business practices in the way we grow our business.”
Farfetch and Amazon’s Luxury Store are seeking to make headway in the space of online luxury retail, and one way to do this being eco-conscious. Farfetch is holding itself and the brands it works with accountable and transparent when it comes to sustainability.