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How Can Brands Address Scope 3 Emissions Through Circular Models?

By Samantha Dersarkissian

How Can Brands Address Scope 3 Emissions Through Circular Models?


Key Takeaways

  • Brands can address Scope 3 emissions through circular models such as rental and resale programs as Selfridges aspires to show, even if they can’t commit to influencing their supply base.

  • Remember all resale is not created equally. Brands will need to ask hard-hitting questions, lay out non-negotiables, and crystalize a vision for the role of their resale programs to customers, shareholders, and the planet. 

Selfridges put a climate stake in the ground–and it was a big one: Reduce scope 3 emissions by 2030 and transition 45% of the business to circular models such as resale and rental.

 Why is this a big deal?

First, let’s define Scope 3. Scope 3 emissions are the indirect emission from activities typically upstream of business–such as the effects of producing the items department stores sell. While Scope 3 emissions can comprise 90%+ of the overall company’s GHG footprint, few are committing to Scope 3 emission reduction targets because affecting indirect emissions is difficult to control.

What is interesting about Selfridge’s commitment is the use of a circular model to influence Scope 3 emissions–making it easier for customers to rent, trade-in and shop used thereby reducing emissions without needing to influence suppliers. And while it’s hard to know how these goals will be achieved, I am inspired by the commitment and moved to be a part of the solution.

Bold commitments that aren’t “window dressings” are needed more than ever and perhaps one of the greatest benefits for brands willing to lead is attracting the right minds and talent to lead the way.

Sourcing Journal ran a piece titled, Secondhand Shopping Is Mainstream, citing Offer Up’s and Vestiaire’s resale reports out this week. Again very little new data at this point but a few stats worth noting:

  • 70% of items purchased, customers stated were displacing a new purchase
  • 50% of sellers said they would not otherwise have taken any action with the item
  • 17kg cited of CO2 displaced per item- this figure is 5-7X higher than others have claimed and it’s worth digging in a bit

Now let’s conclude this week with BoF…Is Resale Fuelling Overconsumption? It’s a simple question that has multiple answers.  Resale is a massive customer trend.  However, depending on the model, it may or may not support sustainability goals.

While I appreciate Pretty Little Thing taking action in launching a secondary marketplace, items that sell new for $8 are unlikely to be traded in and resold.  Brands with high secondary market demand such as Hermes, Patagonia, Reformation, and Michael Kors can resell a well-made item 4-5 times, displacing the need to make, transport, and sell 2-3 new items.  Those items will displace new production, and allow more people to enjoy high-quality pieces and smaller closets.  All resale is not created equally.

Until Next Week,

Andy Ruben, Founder & Executive Chairman


Selfridge wants half of transactions to be resale, repair, rental or refills by 2030

The Guardian

Refill, Repair, Resale is the future. The retailer Selfridge has a goal is for about half of its interactions to be on resale, repair, and rentals by 2030. Selfridge wants to continue to step up action after increasing sales of secondhand items by 240% to 17,771 pieces last year and facilitating 28,000 repairs.

Selfridge Goes Bold With Sweeping Net Zero Commitments, But Are They Realistic?


Selfridge is attempting to go for gold by meeting their net zero emissions target 10 years ahead of schedule. They announced their goals for emission reductions in Project Earth but are they actually attainable? This article suggests there may be a data gap among other things. 

The Inside Track on Our Methodology

Vestiaire Collective 

Vestiaire, a beloved luxury resale site has issued it’s 2022 impact report. This report shows the impact recommerce has on society and provides feedback and insights the most shocking being that 70% of items prevented a first-hand purchase which is a new buyer behavior trend. 

California Approves a Wave of Aggressive New Climate Measures

The New York Times

A record $54 billion in climate spending along with tight restrictions on oil and gas drilling, California has now placed it’s most demanding efforts to combat climate change. Legislature’s approved a mandate that will eliminate carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by 2045. Can it be done?

OfferUp® Recommerce Report 2022

Recommerce Report

OfferUp’s 2022 report found that in 2021 recommerce has had the highest growth rate the industry has ever seen, growing by nearly 15%. It is more clear than ever that Americans are obsessed with buying and selling pre-owned items, but why is this just now happening? The report found that 93% of respondents noted that inflation impacts the way they shop, leaning towards buying and selling secondhand goods with an emphasis on making and saving money.

Recommerce tech firm grows as REI, Lululemon expand used apparel sales

Retail Dive

As more consumers move toward sustainable and affordable shopping, Trove now offers customers a convenient way to trade in gently used items in more than 700 stores nationwide. Additionally, Trove is on track to double its business this year as it has increased its orders by nearly 60% year to date.

Secondhand Shopping Is Mainstream. Now What?

Sourcing Journal

With more than 80 percent of U.S. consumers engaging in shopping and selling pre-owned goods, it is safe to assume that secondhand shopping is the new, well, shopping. As retailers and brands implement their own resale markets through companies like Trove, the trend in re-commerce is creating a gap in the market for new technology solutions to enhance consumers secondhand shopping experience. For instance, Beni, a free browser extension, helps consumers search for products, by offering secondhand alternatives on sites such a The RealReal and Rent the Runway.

Is Resale Fuelling Overconsumption?

Business of Fashion

Pretty Little Thing joins the resale market, and the response is to say the least, not so pretty. With PLT joining the resale community, questions arise about whether resale has become a sort of camouflage for fast fashion. Writer and consultant, Aja Barber, weighs in on the argument stating, “A brand putting a resale platform on their site when they’re selling you this idea of constant newness still, that’s not a positive change.”

Luxury Resale Site Resee Launches Funding Round Ahead of U.S. Expansion

Women’s Wear Daily

Resee, the Paris-based luxury resale site, has launched its Series A funding round as it projects immense growth within the next year. The funding will be put towards expanding to the United States and opening a new brick-and-mortar location in London. Although the brands reach is much smaller in comparison to its competitors like The RealReal, Resee sees higher transaction rates.  

Selfridges Doubles Down on Resale, Rental in Sustainability Push


In an effort to reduce the fashion industry’s impact on the environment, UK’s Selfridges pushes rental services and repairs as a new addition to its Re-Selfridges marketplace. The goal of this push is to raise the initiatives transactions from 1% to 45% by 2030.

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