As a pan-European online retailer, we take our responsibility for our planet very seriously and want to actively contribute to achieving global climate protection goals. We regularly measure our CO₂ footprint according to the standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and use the results to develop measures through which we can avoid or reduce emissions.
Scientific studies such as a recent study by the German Federal Environment Agency, show that in the majority of cases, online retailing has a favourable eco-balance with regard to greenhouse gas emissions, compared to shopping in a physical store. One aspect of online retailing that is often mentioned as particularly harmful to the environment is the large amount of returns. At zooplus, however, the returns rate is consistently below 1%, which significantly reduces the corresponding impact on the environment.
Avoiding and reducing CO₂ emissions
At zooplus, we are working on reducing CO₂ emissions in various areas, as for example:
We have a dense network of warehouses and fulfilment centres throughout Europe, so we are able to focus on short distances in order to save emissions in transport logistics. We work increasingly with climate-conscious logistics partners who use electric vehicles for deliveries.
The cardboard boxes and filling material in our parcels are mostly made of recycled materials and can be recycled after use. We continuously test eco-friendly product innovations to make packaging even more environmentally-friendly.
We use a limited number of standard parcel sizes that can be adjusted in height, to suit the parcel content. This saves on packaging filler and enables maximum loading capacity in the trucks, resulting in fewer transports overall.
We are very careful not to produce unnecessary waste, above all, not to waste valuable food resources. We regularly donate pet food products that are still in perfect condition but nearing their best-before dates, to different animal welfare organisations.
Any returns from our accessories range are usually refurbished for resale; we donate unsaleable but still usable products. Wherever possible, we repair damaged products by replacing individual parts rather than replacing the entire product.
Many of the offices and fulfilment centres in our network are powered by renewable energy sources. For example, our head office in Munich is supplied with 100% green electricity.
With customer's consent, zooplus pays a climate protection contribution per order, which is used to support certified climate protection projects and offset the average carbon emissions of an order. This way, CO₂ emitted in one place is saved elsewhere in the world or removed from the atmosphere. The idea is that it is crucial for the environment that fewer greenhouse gases are emitted overall, not primarily where this happens.
In order to avoid the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, we support, for example, climate protection projects that promote the expansion of renewable energies such as wind and hydropower, or projects that save forest areas from deforestation and thus preserve important carbon reservoirs. As part of projects to remove and store CO2, zooplus also promotes, for example, the production of biochar from bamboo waste, which permanently binds carbon. Learn more about our commitment to individual projects as well as about our partner platform Ceezer here.
In addition to their contribution to climate protection, all projects pay into one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. Thus, in line with climate protection measures, improved health conditions or jobs for the local population are created at the same time, for example.
The projects to avoid greenhouse gas emissions are certified according to international standards such as the Gold Standard, Verra or Plan Vivo. Carbon capture and storage projects are at least already in the pre-certification phase. These independent standards ensure that the projects demonstrably save CO2 and are regularly audited by third-party auditors for their climate impact.