Zalando launches diversity and inclusion strategy “do.BETTER”

Zalando, Europe’s leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle, has launched its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategy, “do.BETTER.” It includes a comprehensive action plan with 12 commitments defined across four pillars: talents, leaders, customers and partners. Already making steady progress with diverse individual initiatives in the past years, the company has now developed a holistic approach to thoroughly cover the topic of D&I. The progress towards the commitments of the strategy will be transparently reported on a yearly basis in Zalando’s D&I Report first published in 2020.

“Our vision is to be the Starting Point for Fashion that is welcoming to everyone. We strive to be inclusive by design, bringing to life the diversity of our talents, leaders, customers and partners,” says Zalando co-CEO David Schneider. “We are convinced that enabling greater diversity and inclusion will lead Zalando to better innovation, deeper customer understanding, greater creativity, higher quality decision-making, and also positively influence the fashion industry.”

Create a truly inclusive workplace for our talents

In the talents pillar, Zalando aims to be an inclusive workplace that provides fair access to opportunities and a sense of belonging where our diverse employees can thrive. To achieve this, for example, we will launch an internal D&I Survey to identify challenges and opportunities to improve our policies, ensure diversity in key projects, provide learning programs on diversity and inclusion for teams, hiring managers and recruiters, and partner with more organizations to identify best practices and advocate support for diverse communities. Furthermore, to cite another commitment, we will increase the share of women in tech job families to 40-60% by 2023.

Astrid Arndt, Chief People Officer (CPO) at Zalando, says, “We believe that through equity and leadership accountability we can create a workplace that provides an inclusive environment for all employees regardless of gender identities, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, parental status, age, languages spoken, neurodiversity, nationality, education, socioeconomic background, faith, health and other diversity dimensions.” 

Diverse leaders who serve as role models 

In the leadership pillar, Zalando aims for its leaders to actively shape an environment that models diversity, equity and inclusion. We will integrate D&I learning as a mandatory element in broader leadership programs. From 2022 onwards, we will have D&I action plans in all Business Units. And in terms of cultural diversity and intersectionalities, by 2025, we commit to broaden the representation of visible and invisible diversity dimensions and backgrounds in our top five leadership levels.

A more inclusive experience and representative content for customers

In the customers pillar, it is Zalando’s ambition that its customers feel respected, included, and celebrated through the customer experiences and communications we create. By 2025, we will provide an equally accessible, relevant and welcoming digital experience for customers from underrepresented groups and will regularly evaluate the digital experience with an independent external panel. Furthermore, we aim to create more inclusive content, and we encourage and support our partners to do the same. For example, we already strive for representative model and influencer booking, thoughtful styling and reduced retouching. Also, customers can already register an account in the Zalando online shop without putting in binary gender information. 

Create with partners a truly diverse assortment across price, size and style 

In the partners pillar, we aim to drive positive change in the fashion industry for and with our partners. To achieve this, we will offer an inclusive assortment on our platform for underrepresented groups, we will diversify our fashion partner portfolio and we will strengthen our network to advocate for D&I in the industry. To achieve this, we commit to offering a truly diverse assortment by providing product choices in every category across price, size and style. More products for all skin tones have been added to the beauty category, our assortment is widened to reflect size inclusivity and includes modest wear, and we continue to partner with more brands that are owned by members of minority groups. This includes advancement on our commitment made in 2020 to onboard 70 Black-owned Brands, starting with one million euros marketing support from Zalando Marketing Services (ZMS), currently accessed by 22 brands.