Retailers find themselves at a critical juncture amidst the rise of ultra-fast fashion. With names like Shein and Temu dominating the scene, the temptation of rapid production cycles and affordable pricing has reshaped consumer behaviour, with this allure attracting staggering numbers of shoppers per month to their site. Yet, as highlighted by a recent study from the University of Technology Sydney, the consequences of this trend are far-reaching.

However, within this challenging landscape lies a promising opportunity for retailers. As the industry grapples with issues of ethics and sustainability, retailers can position themselves as leaders of change. The impending mandate for scope 3 reporting, starting in July 2024, signals a pivotal moment for the industry. Retailers will be compelled to scrutinise and report on the environmental impact of their entire supply chain, presenting an opportunity to prioritise transparency, accountability, and sustainability.

For retailers, the key to complying with the legislation is being able to understand their emissions in the first place. Calculating a carbon footprint in the last mile is very difficult. Imagine two colleagues, both of whom receive a parcel from different retailers on the same delivery vehicle at their office. Determining who takes carriage of that carbon emission is very difficult. And that’s one capture of an emission, but  apportionment in the last mile becomes very difficult as you get more intricate into the network of last mile logistics. 

This is where tools like Shippit’s carbon calculator come in, which measures how much carbon is generated for all deliveries booked through the Shippit platform. Based on this calculation, carbon offsets are purchased to support projects that prevent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by the same amount, to reduce emissions overall. Not only are the carbon emissions neutralised, but the offset projects invested in also deliver economic, community and social benefits. So it’s great for broader ESG, too.

While the allure of fast fashion may be undeniable, the hidden costs cannot be ignored. Retailers have a pivotal role to play in steering the industry towards a more ethical, sustainable, and equitable future. The introduction of scope 3 reporting presents a turning point for the industry; by leveraging data to understand their performance, retailers can achieve transparency, accountability and sustainability within their operations, leading the charge towards positive change in the retail industry for generations to come.