ASOS signs the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment
ASOS signs the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment
Leading online fashion retailer sets ambitious commitments on plastic packaging
LONDON, 16th December 2019: ASOS, one of the world’s leading online fashion retailers, today announces it has become a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, a global initiative rallying more than 400 businesses and governments behind a positive vision of a circular economy for plastics, in which it never becomes waste or pollution.
Signatories commit to three actions to realise this vision: eliminate all problematic and unnecessary plastic items; innovate to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and circulate all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
As the principal online retailer to sign the pledge, ASOS has set a number of ambitious commitments on plastic packaging.
These commitments follow the work that ASOS has already completed on its plastic mailing bags, which are 100% recyclable and made from 25% recycled material, transitioning to 65% in 2020.
The four commitments are:
- Take action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025 – with 50% of ASOS’ own-brand packaging to be eliminated by 2025, against a 2018 baseline.
- Take action to move from single-use towards reuse models where relevant by 2025. A reusable packaging trial will commence in 2020, testing a bespoke prototype mailing bag ASOS has been developing for the past year.
- 100% of packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 – while ASOS packaging is already 100% recyclable in principle, the brand will work to make sure it is 100% recyclable ‘in practice’, accounting for local recycling infrastructure constraints.
- 100% recycled or renewable content used in plastic packaging by 2025, with at least 30% of this being made up of post-consumer waste. ASOS will work to further encourage customers to return packaging back to the retailer, so it can recycle it into new ASOS packaging through a system introduced this year to ‘close the loop’ on packaging.
(For more information on the commitments, see notes to editors).
Alongside these four commitments, ASOS has pledged to take a shared leadership approach within the ecommerce sector in order to advance industry best-practice, and to extend the knowledge that ASOS gains to its brand partners.
Simon Platts, Responsible Sourcing Director at ASOS, said: “We’ve been working hard to reduce our use of plastic across ASOS, including investing in developing our ASOS mailing bags, which will contain 65% recycled material in the new year and are already 100% recyclable. However, there’s always more we can do, which is why we’ve become a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment. This formalises our commitment to reducing our use of plastic, through measures such as increasing the amount of used ASOS bags we recycle into new packaging and introducing a reusable packaging trial in the early months of 2020.”
Sander Defruyt, Lead of the New Plastics Economy initiative at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: “The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites businesses, governments and others behind a clear vision of a circular economy for plastic. We are pleased ASOS is joining us, by setting concrete 2025 targets. Our vision is for a world where plastic never becomes waste or pollution. It will be a challenging journey, but by coming together we can eliminate the plastics we don’t need and innovate, so the plastics we do need can be safely and easily circulated – keeping them in the economy and out of the environment.”
ASOS is also a participant of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative, a collaboration between industry leaders to create a textiles economy that will ultimately benefit business, society and the environment.
Notes to editors
Further information on commitments:
Commitment one: Take action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025.
In 2018, ASOS completed a full audit of its complete range of packaging, helping us to develop a roadmap to removing any unnecessary packaging and increasing the use of recycled and recyclable materials. ASOS will continue an ongoing assessment of its packaging, involving:
- Frequently reviewing each packaging line to ensure it serves only a protective, not a cosmetic, function;
- Removing all non-recyclable packaging;
- Removing lines which may negatively impact the recycling process of other plastics;
- Training our internal teams on these principles and working with our suppliers to influence their approach to packaging.
By 2025, we aim to have removed at least 50% of the range of our own-brand packaging when compared to 2018.
Commitment two: Take action to move from single-use towards reuse models where relevant by 2025.
ASOS has been developing a bespoke reusable external mailing bag for more than a year and in 2020 will be commencing the first staff trial of the prototype bag, in order to test its impact on logistics and the feasibility of the proposition. We will use the lessons from this trial to implement reusable packaging where appropriate across the business.
Commitment three: 100% of packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
ASOS will achieve this commitment by removing non-recyclable packaging, implementing reusable packaging where possible, ensuring existing 100%-recyclable packaging is recyclable in practice given local recycling capabilities, and working together with business and government to advocate best- practice solutions that can be sustained long-term.
Commitment four: 100% recycled or renewable content used in plastic packaging by 2025, with at least 30% of this being made up of post-consumer waste.
In working towards this commitment, ASOS will focus on: consolidating materials into single-streams to reduce risk of cross-contamination at point of recycling; increasing customer engagement on returning packaging to ASOS, in order to increase the amount of post-consumer waste that can be recycled into ASOS packaging through our existing system; and collaborating with the waste management sector to address challenges at source.
ASOS is an online retailer for fashion-loving 20-somethings around the world, with a purpose to give its customers the confidence to be whoever they want to be. Through its market-leading app and mobile/desktop web experience, available in ten languages and in over 200 markets, ASOS customers can shop a curated edit of 85,000 products, sourced from 800 of the best global and local third-party brands and its mix of fashion-led in-house labels – ASOS Design, ASOS Edition, ASOS 4505 and Collusion. ASOS aims to give all of its customers a truly frictionless experience, with an ever-greater number of different payment methods and hundreds of local deliveries and returns options, including Next-Day and Same-Day Delivery, dispatched from state-of-the-art fulfilment centres in the UK, US and Germany.
ASOS’s websites attracted 187.4m visits during August 2019 (August 2018: 157.2m) and as at 31 August 2019 had 20.3m active customers1 (31 August 2018: 18.4m), of which 6.4m were located in the UK and 13.9m were located in international territories (31 August 2018: 6.0m in the UK and 12.4m internationally).
About the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation, the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, putting the circular economy on the agenda of decision-makers around the world. The charity’s work focuses on seven key areas: insight and analysis; business; institutions, governments, and cities; systemic initiatives; circular design; learning; and communications.
Further information: www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org | @circulareconomy
About the New Plastics Economy
Over the past four years, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative has rallied businesses and governments behind a positive vision of a circular economy for plastics. Its 2016 and 2017 New Plastics Economy reports captured worldwide headlines, revealing the financial and environmental costs of waste plastic and pollution.
The initiative is supported by Wendy Schmidt as Lead Philanthropic Partner, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and Oak Foundation as Philanthropic Funders. Amcor, Borealis, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, L’Oréal, MARS, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Veolia and Walmart are the initiative’s Core Partners.
Further information: www.newplasticseconomy.org | @circulareconomy