MILAN — The Yoox Net-a-porter Group is making strides on the sustainability and responsibility front, taking its commitment to infinity and beyond.
On Wednesday, the company unveiled its new sustainable strategy dubbed “Infinity,” which sets a framework of 12 targets and benchmarks to achieve by 2030, each reflecting one of the United Nations’ 12 Sustainable Development Goals.
YNAP said the holistic strategy reflects its aim to “shape a future where loved products are made to last, where customers are equipped with options and knowledge to make informed choices and extend the lives of their garments, where the next generation is readied for a sustainable future, and where luxury and fashion can play their part in restoring balance to the planet.”
To be sure, the parent of e-commerce sites Yoox, Net-a-porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet has been proactive since 2009 when it launched its first initiatives aimed at fostering a more eco-friendly and responsible business model. That year Yoox debuted Yooxygen, a platform devoted to sustainable fashion and new talents.
Company chairman and chief executive officer Federico Marchetti has been vocal about and instrumental in developing sustainable and welfare initiatives for the group, including the most recent The Modern Artisan project, as a result of which the company debuted earlier this month The Prince’s Foundation sustainable capsule collection.
Infinity will leverage the company’s data and technological backbone to initiate a more comprehensive sustainable journey spanning four areas of interest: Circular Business, Circular Culture, Planet Positive and People Positive.
The first initiatives under the new strategy are to bow by the end of 2020.
“With only 10 years left to reach the U.N.’s SDGs, 2020 is the decade of delivery,” Giorgia Roversi, director of sustainability and inclusion at Yoox Net-a-porter Group, told WWD.
“Infinity will harness our technology, innovation and reach to build a circular ecosystem for lasting luxury fashion… 2030 is not the end, but the next 10 years will be important for the industry in designing a blueprint for the future,” she added.
Roversi noted the strategy “is designed to combine immediate tangible projects that create positive change today, with an ambitious vision that can guide our future thinking and shape how we collaborate with the industry to drive lasting meaningful change.”
An emphasis was put on circularity as a business model to further implement within the group by 2025, flanked by consumer-facing campaigns and projects to help customers choose more consciously.
Roversi touted the company’s interconnected ecosystem across its four multibrand e-commerce platforms but stressed “there is further untapped potential within this ecosystem.”
By the end of next year, all YNAP’s private labels, which include men’s wear brand Mr P and 8 by Yoox, among others, are to embed more sustainable and circular practices in design, while the buying teams across all platforms are going to be trained to keep eco-fashion top of mind in their buying process.
“Infinity is designed to take this potential for circularity to a scale we have not seen before, from using data to avoid waste, launching care and repair services to increase longevity, and piloting re-commerce services to allow garments to take on a new lease of life with new owners,” Roversi noted.
“The products we curate are already designed to last, and Infinity is our commitment to explore how they can be re-loved and passed on to next generations and new owners in the future,” she explained.
Along the same lines, the group is committed to unlocking re-commerce initiatives by 2025, with pilot projects to bow in 2021. It will also start rolling out a series of collaborations in 2021 with local tailors, craftsmen and start-ups in Milan, London and New York to offer care and repair solutions to increase each garment’s lifetime.
“We want customers to fall in love with their purchases and cherish them for many years. If or when the moment comes to pass it on, we think there should be a beautiful, authenticated and inspiring destination to do so,” Roversi offered, noting YNAP has been at the forefront of customer experience for the past two decades.
As part of the strategy, YNAP is also committed to working together with its partner brands so that they align with the framework it set for circular design by 2021.
“We have always collaborated very closely with our partner brands, and this will be no different. We are excited to share our journey, findings and opportunities to work together to innovate further, particularly within our pilot projects,” Roversi explained. “We’re proud to have worked with our partners on issues such as human, animal and environmental welfare, with an overwhelmingly encouraging response from our customers, and it is exciting to see what we will create together next,” she added.
As customers, especially Gen Z, are holding companies accountable for their business practices, the strategy also takes in YNAP’s range of consumer-facing initiatives to facilitate access to sustainability-related information on its web sites.
“Customers are telling us that they care about these issues, and the fashion industry is certainly alive to the imperative we face to protect our planet and secure diversity and inclusivity as the only way to create a more sustainable future,” said Roversi.
To reflect that, the company said that 20 percent of yearly editorial and social media content is supposed to have some kind of sustainable undercurrent by 2022. YNAP’s combined audience on social media totals 14 million people at press time.
Aligning with the strategy, YNAP will further expand its eco-friendly platforms such as Yooxygen and Net Sustain, Net-a-porter’s hub dedicated to green fashion labels. It is also pledging to urge partner brands to use the group’s platforms to communicate their sustainable achievements.
The goal is to enable customers to make more conscious fashion choices. An AI-powered sizing tool will be implemented to reduce returns.
On the other end of the spectrum, YNAP is planning to rethink and redesign some of its operations with the aim of generating a net positive impact on the planet and offsetting its carbon dioxide emissions so as to become climate positive by 2030.
In particular, it will work in tandem with parent company Compagnie Financière Richemont to accelerate its climate-related targets modeled after the Science Based Targets initiative, spearheaded by the Carbon Disclosure Project, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the WWF.
In the energy sphere, YNAP has set an ambitious target, committing to 100 percent renewable energy by 2020 for all its owned and directly operated facilities, while also implementing energy management and monitoring systems to lower demand. It also plans to expand its carbon emissions compensation program to include Scope 3 indirect emissions that occur across the value chain.
The company is pursuing a waste-management policy by 2021, with the ultimate goal of zero waste to landfill by 2023, ensuring instead that all YNAP’s operational waste is reused, recycled or composted.
As the fashion world has started to identify social responsibility as a byproduct of its sustainable commitment, YNAP’s 2030 targets include a range of welfare initiatives.
The group will launch a companywide volunteering program to provides employees two days a year of voluntary work each focused on mentoring and training young talents and underrepresented groups. This would mean providing 15,000 days of voluntary work by 2025. To continue fostering new talent, YNAP will expand its platforms dedicated to emerging designers across all platforms.
In order to grow its diversity and inclusion scope, YNAP will strengthen its Diversity and Inclusion Council by mapping out a new equity and diversity policy, with training for all employees set up for completion by the end of 2020.
Roversi said “it was important our colleagues shared our vision and understood the road map… This is a big transformation and it’s important that our people and teams are empowered to create change.”
As part of its D&I agenda, YNAP is encouraging partner brands and suppliers to share facts and figures to give insight into diversity throughout its supply chain.