Vinted report claims big CO₂ savings for secondhand compared to buying new
Vinted — the peer-to-peer secondhand fashion marketplace — has released a new report backing up its sustainability claims and saying that it's "a better choice for the climate than buying new".
Its first Climate Change Impact Report is based on independent analysis conducted by climate tech start-up Vaayu and says that on average, shopping for secondhand fashion on Vinted instead of buying new avoided 1.8 kgCO₂e per item.
It’s particularly interesting, of course, because many of the conclusions could also be applied more widely to other secondhand sellers.
The site is the leading C2C marketplace in Europe for secondhand fashion and the study uses research conducted during 2021 and 2022.
The figure quoted would mean that the net carbon emissions avoided by the Vinted Marketplace in a single year added up to 453 kilotonnes CO₂e, the equivalent emissions of flying between London and Los Angeles and back approximately 275,000 times.
Vaayu used a Consequential Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to analyse half a billion transactions, along with insights on shopping behaviours from a sample of 350,000 Vinted members.
It looked at the “cradle-to-consumer” carbon emissions of products sold; how often its members avoided the purchase of a new product when buying secondhand on the marketplace; and the carbon emissions generated by deliveries, packaging and the firm’s own operations.
And the conclusions included secondhand having become “the first choice for a fifth of buyers” with “embedded behaviour in favour of secondhand”.
Some 47% of buyers use Vinted due to affordability, but 20% said they’re motivated by environmental and social concerns, highlighting that members increasingly value the impact of a purchase.
And it’s interesting that 20% of buyers would still have chosen to buy a secondhand item, even if the equivalent item was almost the same price when new.
To calculate avoided emissions, Vaayu assessed the Replacement Rate of items bought, that is, the proportion of items that would have otherwise been bought new. At least 39% of the transactions made ‘replaced’ a new item, resulting in that average net saving of 1.8kg CO2e mentioned above.
As for Vinted’s own emissions, deliveries represent the highest proportion (96%). But the report indicated that 73% of transactions conducted were delivered to a pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) point, which reduced emissions by 62%, compared to home delivery.
It also said that 62% of sellers reused packaging designed for single use, which equated to 70% lower emissions than would have been generated by using new packaging, as well as lower waste.
The company launched a dedicated shipping business called Vinted Go last year and said it “plans to continue popularising PUDO to help to reduce the climate impact of shipping among its membership base”. For instance, its aim is to have more than 2,000 lockers operational in France by the end of the year.
CEO Thomas Plantenga said: “Fashion is responsible for significant damage to the environment, so our mission is grounded in the conviction that resale is one of the solutions to tackle this harm. For us as a C2C marketplace, right now that means two things. Firstly, encouraging our members to buy secondhand instead of new, so that the emissions from producing that new item aren’t created in the first place. And secondly, helping people see and release the value in the items they own. With this extensive analysis, we are happy to be able to evidence that buying second-hand items on Vinted is a better choice for the climate than buying new.”
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