FARFETCH outlines long-term sustainability goals

  • Move of luxury fashion sales online accelerates the industry’s drive towards more sustainable and inclusive business practices
  • Ten-year goals build on company’s existing ‘Positively FARFETCH’ strategy and the host of initiatives launched under it, including ‘The Conscious Edit’, ‘Fashion Footprint Tool’, ‘Climate Conscious Delivery’ and the ‘FARFETCH Secondlife’ and ‘FARFETCH Donate’ services


LONDON, U.K. [7] December 2020 – FARFETCH (NYSE: FTCH), the global destination for modern luxury fashion, today announced its first set of 10-year sustainability goals as part of its ‘Positively FARFETCH’ strategy to be the platform for good in luxury fashion. The goals aim to increase the efficiency and diversity of the business, while broadening the customer offer and providing boutiques, department stores and brands using the platform with practical resources to support their own sustainability efforts.

The launch of these 2030 goals has been accelerated by the rapid growth of online luxury sales during lockdown. It builds on the ‘Positively FARFETCH’ launch in 2019, and the host of initiatives under that programme, such as ‘Climate Conscious Delivery’, which debuted during lockdown, to offset the carbon impact of all its deliveries and returns.

The 10-year goals focus on four key areas: firstly, driving the company’s carbon footprint to zero and beyond through the centralization of fulfilment, use of more efficient packaging, increased use of renewable energy, and offsetting any remainder; secondly, promoting products that are independently recognised or certified as being “consciously” better for people, the planet or animals; thirdly, enabling customers to extend the life of their clothes and reduce waste through business models such as resale, donations, repairs, or made-to-order, in addition to buying pre-owned and finally, embedding an anti-discriminatory and consciously inclusive culture at FARFETCH and achieving diversity and representation within the organisation and in how we represent the industry.

As part of FARFETCH’s ongoing corporate governance efforts and reflecting the Company's commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility, the Board approved the formation of an ESG committee of the Board of Directors earlier this year. The committee will oversee the implementation of these 10 year goals and includes CEO and Chairman José Neves and Board members Stephanie Horton, and Diane Irvine. 

Thomas Berry, Director of Sustainable Business, FARFETCH, said:

“We operate at the intersection of fashion, technology and sustainability. 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 programme, 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.”

José Neves, Founder, CEO and Chairman of FARFETCH, said:

“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.  A credible, granular environmental and social programme, 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; customers want to see us taking action and so do staff. This year we've seen an accelerated move of luxury fashion sales online which has only increased the need to prioritise 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.

We want FARFETCH to be a diverse and inclusive workplace and platform for all customers, partners and employees.  We started on our diversity and inclusion journey some time ago but there is work to do and next year we will be publishing a framework so that we can track our progress and be transparent.  Sustainability is a cornerstone of the evolution of “Luxury New Retail” where the boundary between offline 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.”

Positively Cleaner: becoming a climate positive business

Our largest single environmental impact lies within our logistics network. Running a platform with thousands of sellers, each fulfilling their own shipping, some 44% of the company’s emissions are related to shipping and returns. We have and are focussing on reducing our emissions by, for example, increasing packaging and supply chain efficiencies and the use of renewable energy in our operations. However, offsetting is the most economically efficient way for us to immediately reduce our environmental impact, which is why we are already supporting both forestry and renewable energy projects.

In terms of packaging, new sizes of packaging box have been introduced, to ensure that all items, big or small, are shipped in packages of an appropriate size (reducing both emissions and paper waste). FARFETCH has also switched to Forest Stewardship Certified materials and improved the design to require less tape.

We recognise the climate emergency and the need to act now. This is why we want to do more than just neutralise our own carbon footprint by 2030, we want to use our position and scale as a platform to drive carbon reductions beyond net zero.

Our unique position as a marketplace means that we can inspire and enable positive change in the industry as a whole by engaging and providing services that enable further reductions by our community of suppliers, partners, customers and employees. To become climate positive, we will engage with these stakeholders on carbon impact enabling measurable reductions, deliver and measure carbon savings through circular business models and support innovation in carbon reductions and removals.

We will continue to measure and build upon the data within our carbon footprint in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In the future, we will continue to work hard to reduce all our emissions in line with Science Based Targets, through 100% renewable energy sourcing in our offices, packaging efficiencies, helping our partners by shipping pieces in bulk via our fulfilment network, offering more sustainable delivery options and prioritising lower carbon materials in products aligned with our conscious goals.

Over time, we will also expand our offsetting programme, which currently covers all shipping emissions for every single customer order and return, to cover all residual emissions and support programmes that enable the achievement of net zero.

Positively Circular: Selling more circular than linear.

The quality associated with luxury fashion already gives it a lifespan that can extend across multiple generations. Over the past year we have invested in services that help our customers extend the life of their clothes launching pilots of both a resale service (FARFETCH Secondlife) and a donations service (FARFETCH Donate). Following successful pilots, both of these services are now being expanded to new markets. We have also been investing in growing our pre-owned category, an area that we know our customers are already engaged in, with 52% customers having bought or sold pre-owned luxury items as of September 2020.

By 2030, our goal is to sell more circular, low-waste products or uses of circular services, than sales of products made in traditional, linear ways.

Lower waste products can include both pre-owned products or those made from recycled or upcycled materials, but also those ‘made to order’. Our aim is to encourage more customers to purchase these sorts of items, grow the services we’ve already launched, and explore other initiatives that will help customers extend the life of clothes (e.g. repairs, rentals) and reduce waste (e.g. by buying items that are made-to-order,  designed for durability, or designed for recycling). In doing so we hope to help to move the fashion system from a linear “take, make, dispose” model to a more sustainable, circular one.

Positively Conscious: selling 100% conscious products

Improving the environmental, social or animal welfare standards of products is a critical part of making the industry more sustainable. Our brand and retail partners are already moving in this direction. As a platform we are uniquely placed in the industry to drive transparency and share standards across our partners. 

Since the launch of ‘Positively FARFETCH’ in 2019, we have offered customers the chance to shop the most exciting selection of ‘conscious’ luxury products through our ‘Conscious Edits’ for womenswear, menswear and kidswear.  We’ve also provided customers with a ‘Fashion Footprint Tool’ to make more informed decision when buying new clothes (by better understanding the environmental impact of materials) and pre-owned fashion (by clearly assessing the environmental saving of second-hand options).

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 recognised ‘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.  

Positively Inclusive: to be a leader in conscious inclusion

At FARFETCH we are committed to achieving diversity and representation at every level of the organisation and enabling an anti-discriminatory and consciously inclusive culture, holding all FARFETCHERS accountable.  With our brand and community partners we are committed to ensuring the marketplace and platform includes and is accessible to a representative spectrum of social identities and needs and that we give dedicated space for expression, additional commercial support and above benchmark visibility to designers and businesses from under-represented communities.

We are at the start of our journey and by 2021 we commit to publishing a data framework that establishes clear data baselines to set our goal against and ensure progress is transparent.