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Zalando pledges diversity push after racism investigation

Tom Shearsmith
21 August 2020

Online fashion retailer Zalando has pledged to use more brands linked to Black and other minority groups as part of a drive to fight discrimination, increase diversity and racial awareness after an investigation into allegations of racism.

In June 2020, allegations of racism pertaining to model booking, photo retouching and discriminatory language were raised by a former employee of Zalando Studios via social media channels.

Going forward, Zalando will ensure that the way they present fashion offer to customers - including through the models book - is free from any offensive and discriminatory content and that it continues to champion Black and People of Colour as well as body positivity and an affirmation of LGBTQI+ identities and lifestyles.

In a statement, the company said: "As a European platform based in Berlin with employees from more than 130 nations, we strive to be a tolerant and inclusive place to work. We want Zalando to be a company where there is absolutely no place for racism and discrimination.

"Diversity and inclusion is an ongoing journey and we continue to seek ways to do better. As part of our efforts to improve, our Code of Ethics sets clear expectations for the professional, ethical, and responsible behaviour of all employees. 

The online retailer will also push its supply team to source more Black and minority-owned brands to diversify their partner base and to support independent and up-and-coming businesses who are diverse and inclusive.

Zalando Co-Founder and Co-CEO Robert Gentz, added: “Racism has no place at Zalando. This has always been our position and we are constantly seeking ways of ensuring that is everyone's experience.

"The findings from this investigation have given us a better picture of where we stand and also offer specific ideas of where we can do better to ensure that everyone, whether that be an employee, a customer, a model or a partner - feels equally valued, heard and empowered."

Last week, Zalando reported sales on its website have more than doubled from brands aiming to expand their online presence, resulting in a total second-quarter revenue increase of 27%.

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