Vestiaire Collective means business.
Becoming the first resale platform to achieve B Corp status last year, the company recently set its sights on U.S. expansion (aided by its Tradesy acquisition) and revealed its first impact report on Thursday.
The report was done in partnership with PwC’s U.K.’s sustainability and climate change team and is meant to showcase the benefits of Vestiaire Collective’s business model, which, according to the report, shows savings of 90 percent of the environmental cost of a resale item compared to a new fashion item, since it skips the manufacturing.
“Vestiaire Collective’s business model is truly unique. Our role in the Sustainability and Inclusion team is to provide the right data to support this claim, and to keep challenging ourselves to make improvements — and in turn, keep challenging the industry to transition faster,” Dounia Wone, Vestiaire Collective’s chief sustainability and inclusion officer, said in a press statement. “We are wary of the fact that resale still has the potential to contribute to a culture of overconsumption. Therefore it’s important to us to work with our community to encourage a move away from fast fashion, to ensure we can have the biggest possible impact.”
Vestiaire Collective’s environmental footprint was developed with PwC using similar methods that underpin Kering’s environmental profit and loss tool.
Using a monetized environmental cost method, Vestiaire Collective found its items chalk up 0.39 euros — or one-tenth of the environmental cost of a new purchase. In emissions terms, each item bought on Vestiaire Collective allegedly saves 17 kg. of CO2 versus a new one, or the equivalent to 100 km, or 62 miles, driven by an average car. Monetization methods for sustainability have also been used by brands like Kering, Eileen Fisher, Reformation and REI (some in collaboration with NYU’s Center for Sustainable Business).
Recent academic research further supports longevity and the case for circular business models in prolonging garment wear.
Vestiaire Collective surveyed 2,363 consumers from 57 countries in December for the report, with results revealing that 70 percent of customers say shopping at Vestiaire Collective prevents them from buying a firsthand purchase — a figure 23 percent higher than previous studies of resale. The report compared circularity learnings from Waste and Resources Action Program, BCG and ThredUp, among others.
In 2020, Vestiaire Collective conducted its first greenhouse gas accounting and set an ambitious target to reach net positive by 2025 — sans offsetting — by reducing the carbon impact of its activities. Expected sizable portions come from its transportation footprint, at about 58 percent of the reseller’s impact. In the last two years, the company has reduced air transportation from 70 to 37 percent in Europe, in part aided by making localized and direct-shipping options available to consumers.
While impact reports are commonplace among fashion now, the circular business models often covet new metrics like displacement rate or costs per wear.