LONDON — Farfetch is forging ahead with its sustainability commitments and introducing a “fashion footprint” tool to help customers better understand the environmental impact of their purchases — and to highlight the benefits of buying pre-owned. The aim is to ensure that sustainability remains top-of-mind for the consumer.
The introduction of the online tool, which will allow consumers to see the impact of specific materials in their purchases and the savings they are making if they choose to buy secondhand merchandise, was informed by a report examining the pre-owned market that was published by Farfetch in partnership with the London Waste and Recycling Board.
The report looks at the growth of the pre-owned market in the U.K., the U.S. and China., key consumer behaviors, as well as “displacement rates,” or the extent to which shopping pre-owned reduces the demand for new-season items.
“The displacement averaged 57 percent, meaning 57 percent of pre-owned purchases prevented the purchase of something new. This was much higher than the only other existing estimate from WRAP. A 2013 study [showed] the average was just 29 percent,” said Thomas Barry, director of sustainable business at Farfetch.
“We hope this figure will be useful to the industry and support analysis of environmental savings and help make the case for business models focused on pre-owned,” he added.
The report also highlights that a pre-owned purchase can save 1 kilogram of waste, 3,040 liters of water and 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide.
Shoppers are mostly driven by a pre-owned item’s rarity, or price, with Chinese consumers more likely to purchase based on rarity. The British and Americans are more driven by price.
Barry said the tool is meant to help consumers choose from “a range of great fashion that we have on Farfetch, a large amount of which just happens to be conscious.” The tool is also meant to highlight the benefits of the circular services that Farfetch offers, “like our SecondLife resale service, or our donation service powered by Thrift-plus,” said Barry.
“A lot of consumers have said they want to buy into brands doing the right things, and that they would want to stop buying from brands that are not doing the basics in terms of sustainability.”
The report findings will be made readily available online, in a bid to encourage the broader fashion ecosystem to embrace the growing pre-owned market.
“In addition to the core business initiatives we are launching within the sustainability space, we aim to become a source for data and tools in the circular space. This marks the first step into that direction,” added Giorgio Belloli, the retailer’s chief commercial and sustainability officer.