LONDON — Farfetch is ready to reimagine how it does business and has set a series of highly ambitious sustainability goals for 2030.
By that year, the retailer said it wants to see its circular business — including handbag resales, donations and sales of pre-owned or vintage goods — outgrow sales in the primary market, which have been its bread-and-butter until now.
It’s also pledging to sell nothing but conscious products by 2030, across both its own site and all the companies under its umbrella, including Browns, New Guards Group and Stadium Goods.
Achieving carbon neutrality, centralized fulfillments and “embedding a consciously inclusive” company culture are also part of the plan. The ultimate aim is to spearhead these changes within the Farfetch business, as well as influence its wider network of brand, boutique and department store partners and ask them to do the same.
After experiencing significant growth during lockdown — when online sales spiked and the company’s marketplace model gave it at an edge over competitors — Farfetch said it’s now in a position to move and implement these goals.
“A credible, granular environmental and social program, with clear long-term goals is important for all our stakeholders. For investors, it is an increasingly important part of management’s report card; for business partners, it is part of the service we provide; and customers want to see us taking action and so do staff,” said Farfetch chairman and chief executive officer José Neves.
Neves, alongside board members Stephanie Horton and Dana Evan, is part of a specially appointed Environmental, Social and Governance committee that will be overseeing the implementation of the company’s goals.
The goals have been divided among four pillars: circularity, inclusion, conscious products and carbon neutrality.
One of the key issues the retailer is facing is the high amount of carbon emissions from shipping and returns of its sellers around the world, something it has already addressed through carbon-offsetting schemes, more efficient packaging and renewable energy.
By 2030, the company is aiming to move carbon emissions beyond net zero by supporting its broader partner network to reduce their carbon footprints; expand its offsetting program, and shift to 100 percent renewable energy in its offices.
Focusing on circular fashion services — be it resale, repair or secondhand sales — will also help the retailer reduce its environmental footprint and realize its second major goal of seeing its sales of circular or low-waste products outgrow those of “traditional products made in linear ways.”
Whether circular, or following the traditional fashion cycle, all products sold on Farfetch and Farfetch-owned businesses are to be 100 percent “conscious” by 2030. This means products need to recycled, upcycled or made from organic or fair-trade materials, something that will be determined by independent ratings groups.
With regard to diversity and inclusion, the company said its pledge is to embed “an anti-discriminatory culture” within the organization, while also offering more commercial support and visibility to brand partners from minority backgrounds.
To hold itself accountable, Farfetch said it would start publishing a “data framework” from next year that will track its progress and ensure transparency.
“We started on our diversity and inclusion journey some time ago but there is still work to do,” Neves said. “Sustainability is a cornerstone of the evolution of ‘Luxury New Retail,’ where the boundary between off-line and online commerce is dissolving as store-based operations are digitized. We will enable partners to enhance their customer experience through embedding sustainability into areas such as delivery, efficient supply-chain management, marketing and product merchandising, customer engagement and innovative new service offerings.”