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.
Offsetting CO₂ emissions
With customer's consent, zooplus makes a climate protection contribution with every order. The contribution is at no cost to the customer. It is used to support certified climate protection projects and also offset the average CO2 emissions of an order, ensuring that CO2 emissions produced in one location are reduced elsewhere in the world. The underlying principal is that it is crucial for the atmosphere that fewer greenhouse gases be emitted overall, not just where it primarily happens.
At zooplus, we are particularly committed to projects that directly or indirectly foster forest protection. By reducing or preventing deforestation, forests are preserved as valuable CO2 reservoirs and fewer greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Furthermore, as a company of pet lovers, we believe that the natural habitat of numerous animal and plant species should also be protected, along with the forests, and that we can contribute in this way to the preservation of biodiversity.
zooplus' commitment in Kenya
Together with ClimatePartner we are helping to promote the spread of clean cookstoves in Kenya, giving the local population an efficient and energy-saving alternative to cooking on an open fire. These stoves require significantly less firewood or coal, which means that a single stove saves up to 4.46 tonnes of CO2 per year. Vital forests can be saved from deforestation for firewood and remain as valuable CO2 reservoirs and habitats for numerous animal and plant species. At the same time, households are able to save time and money because they have to procure less firewood. From a health point of view, the stoves are also more beneficial because they reduce exposure to soot particles when compared to cooking on open fires. The project is certified according to the Gold Standard and contributes to eleven of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
What is a climate contribution and what does CO2 compensation mean?
A voluntary climate contribution is made to a certified climate protection project that is proven to save CO2 emissions. In this way, CO2 emissions produced in one location are reduced elsewhere in the world; overall, the emissions are offset. The underlying principal is that it is crucial for the atmosphere that fewer greenhouse gases be emitted overall, not just where it primarily happens. In addition to CO2 offsetting, it is fundamental to continuously avoid and reduce CO2 emissions.
What are climate protection projects?
Climate protection projects help to combat global warming by verifiably reducing greenhouse gases. This is achieved through different approaches, such as forest protection, reforestation or the expansion of renewable energies. The projects must meet internationally recognised standards and are certified and audited according to strict criteria, for example the Gold Standard. This ensures and regularly confirms the climate protection effect of the projects.
It is very important that these projects develop and build up additional climate protection measures that would not exist without the projects. Furthermore, the contribution to CO₂ reduction in the atmosphere must be clearly measurable. Each project must also guarantee that the CO₂ emissions saved will only be used once for offsetting and that the corresponding certificates will be retired via official registries.
Why should CO₂ emissions be offset?
Ideally, emissions should be avoided in the first place, for example by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energies in the electricity supply. Whenever it is not feasible to completely avoid CO2 emissions, they should be reduced as much as possible: For example, instead of sending out a half-filled lorry on two consecutive days, a fully loaded lorry on the second day could be used. Since it is normally not possible to completely avoid all emissions immediately, it makes sense to offset any remaining emissions.
How can zooplus know that these projects really reduce CO2 emissions?
All projects are certified according to market-leading standards, such as the Gold Standard, and are regularly validated by external third parties. This ensures that both development and maintenance of the projects function reliably and that the projects deliver the promised emissions reduction.
Why are there no climate protection projects in Europe?
In industrialised countries and continents, such as Europe, it is very difficult to fulfil the project criteria of additionality and the exclusion of double counting: Many climate protection measures can be realised directly through national promotion of renewable energies - even without additional financing as a climate protection project. In addition, savings in industrialised countries are attributed to the respective national climate protection targets and therefore cannot be counted a second time as part of a voluntary climate protection project.
In contrast, projects in the Global South can have a much higher impact: countries in the Global South are often hit far harder by climate change than the industrialised nations that caused the majority of CO2 emissions in recent decades. At the same time, the affected countries usually have significantly less budget available for innovative climate protection. The offset compensation system can therefore promote climate protection directly in the areas most affected by climate change.