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Zappos’s New Platform Curates Products Kind to People and Planet

Zappos has a new platform.

The online retailer, which famously bills itself as a customer service company “that just happens” to sell clothing and shoes, debuted Goods for Good, a new “purpose-driven customer experience” featuring more than 150 curated brands that promote sustainable, charitable and animal-friendly lifestyles.

The sub-site launched Tuesday also highlights the “stories and purpose” behind select brands, such as Fjällräven, which creates environmentally minded outdoor gear, and Diff Eyewear, which has provided 1 million pairs of reading glasses to people in need since 2015.

Products in Goods for Good fall under one or more of five categories: vegan (they have no animal parts), give back (they donate part of their proceeds to causes), sustainably certified (they’re qualified by at least one industry standard for social or environmental impact), organic (they’re made of organic cotton and other lower-impact materials) and recycled (they’re composed of materials such as used plastic bottles).

“We know for our customers every purchase matters and they’re passionate about investing in products that contribute to a greater good,” Steven Bautista, head of charitable giving at Zappos, said in a statement. “We want to ensure the best service and shopping experience possible, so we’ve made it fast and easy for them to view all relevant products at once and learn about each brand’s purpose.”

Zappos is the latest in a line of retailers offering a “responsible edit” of their wares. In June, Net-a-Porter rolled out Net Sustain, a “platform for brands, products and content driven by a desire to make fashion more sustainable.” The following month, both Asos and Zalando flagged items with eco-friendlier credentials. H&M, too, decided this year to supply product-transparency details for all garments and most H&M Home interior products sold on, including production countries, supplier names, factory addresses and the number of workers the facilities employ.

The trend may be a way retailers are adapting to the changing expectations of younger consumers, who are rising in their spending power. According to a Drapers study this past May, three-quarters (76.7 percent) of 18- to 38-year-olds think it’s “very” or “quite” important for brands to show they are environmentally sustainable. Nearly half of them said they “actively hunt” out brands that are sustainable.

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A survey by intelligence firm Toluna in September, not long after the global climate strikes, found that more than one-third (37 percent) of consumers are both seeking out and willing to pay up to 5 percent more for environmentally friendly products. Moreover, they’re “actively changing” their shopping behavior to do so.

“Consumers have come to expect to see their changing values reflected in the products they use, especially when it comes to the environment,” Jay Rampuria, executive vice president, global business and corporate development at Toluna, said in a statement.