Depop's climate actions

By Depop
20 Apr 2022
We’re living in a climate emergency. And the reality is that the time we have to make a difference is less than 10 years. In 2021, we launched a two-year plan detailing the actions Depop will take as a company to address our impact.
One of our goals was to obtain the Climate Neutral Label by the end of 2021. We successfully delivered and certified as a climate-neutral company in November 2021.
We started our journey by measuring and retroactively offsetting all of our shipping emissions from January 2020 and onwards. We then expanded our measurement and offsetting efforts to all key sources of scope 1-3 GHG emissions produced in 2020, in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard. In 2021, we further expanded the boundaries of our scope 3 emissions reporting to include the impact of the packaging used by our sellers, and the energy used to power buyers and sellers devices' when using Depop[1]
In 2021, our total footprint was 19,468 tCO2e[2] - scope 1 and 2 emissions accounted for 19 tCO2e, and scope 3 accounted for 19,449 tCO2e. This is compared to 17,310 tCO2e in 2020.
In 2021, we joined the Etsy Inc. family and started to collaborate with their Impact team to fast track our climate efforts. Earlier this year, Etsy Inc. set a group Net Zero goal:
  • Achieve Net Zero through targets aligned with the science of climate change while continuing to run a carbon neutral[3] company.
    • By year end 2030, we aim to achieve a 50% absolute reduction in Scope 1+2 greenhouse gas emissions and a 52% reduction in Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of gross profit from a 2020 base year.
    • By year end 2040, we aim to achieve a 90% absolute reduction in Scope 1+2 greenhouse gas emissions and 97% reduction in Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of gross profit from a 2020 base year.
    • Continue to offset 100% of measured Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions annually
We also joined Tech Zero - a group of tech companies of all sizes who are committed to fighting the climate crisis. Tech Zero is an official partner to the UN Race to Zero.

What's next?

We know that carbon offsetting is not a long-term solution to fight climate change. Being carbon neutral allows us to take immediate action to balance our footprint while we work toward long term reductions alongside Etsy Inc. in line with our new Net Zero targets. We will keep on reporting progress on our climate initiatives on an annual basis.

Global climate action projects

Since 2020, we have worked with South Pole to fund two global climate action projects to compensate for our GHG emissions.
We chose these projects because of their positive impact on the planet, their focus on social benefits and their alignment with our values at Depop.

Kariba Forest Protection

Since its launch in 2011 Kariba Forest Protection project has prevented more than 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 emission from being released into the atmosphere each year by preventing deforestation and land degradation of nearly 785,000 hectares of forest in Zimbabwe. By promoting local and sustainable economic opportunities, the project displaces the need for communities to clear the forest for subsistence farming and fuelwood. Among the numerous initiatives deployed, the Kariba project provides clean water to health clinics, teaches sustainable farming techniques and invests in youth education, subsidising several schools through learning materials, building materials and teachers’ salaries. And, with 40% of participants being women, the project also promotes gender equality.

Dora-II Geothermal project

The Dora-II Geothermal project is located in Turkey, one of the world’s top producers of cotton and a major supplier of the fashion industry. The project contributes to reduce Turkey’s reliance on imported fossil fuels through the financing of a geothermal power plant near Izmir, in the Aegean region. Harnessing heat from deep within the earth the power plant generates clean, emissions-free geothermal electricity for the national grid. The project also contributes to regional economic and social development by creating jobs and subsidising a local school.

A note on our methodology

For our 2021 footprint, we extended the boundaries of our scope 3 emissions and updated our shipping methodology as follows:
Shipping - As a marketplace, we don't have direct control over the delivery of items sold on our app, as our sellers use different shipping services around the world. This makes calculating our shipping emissions challenging as we can’t rely on one single carrier to give us accurate data. Emissions from shipping activity are estimated based on third-party reports with CO2e information received from Etsy Inc’s shipping partner, USPS. To calculate greenhouse gas emissions for each shipment, we use shipment weight, shipment distance, shipment mode, and an emissions factor based on USPS data from Etsy. We estimate average package weight based on product type, and shipment mode based on the distance travelled. We calculate the distance between buyer and seller using our internal records of buyer and seller latitude and longitude. We apply an uplift of 12% to the direct mileage between buyer and seller to take into account mileage using road transportation and direct flights (rather than 'as the crow flies').
Our shipping methodology was originally reviewed and assured by South Pole, and relates to the methodology used to calculate our 2020 shipping emissions. You can find their assurance statement below. For our 2021 shipping emissions, we updated the emission factors based on USPS data from Etsy for our 2021 shipping emissions.
Packaging - Our sellers offer various types of packaging to ship items sold on Depop, and also reuse other packaging and materials to ship items. Emissions from packaging are estimated using survey data collected from over 2,500 Depop sellers on packaging materials and reuse, publicly available evidence on the carbon impacts of different packaging materials, the number of packages shipped on Depop and the associated packaging weight by packaging material. For each shipment, we multiply the weight of the packaging material by the associated emissions factor from the Franklin Associates report[4] to derive greenhouse gas emissions. We incorporated U.S. average recycling rates by packaging material into our analysis by pro-rating associated disposal emissions.
Buyer and seller energy use - Every time a user logs onto Depop, they use energy to power their devices. We calculate associated GHG emissions based on energy consumed from usage of our platform by users globally on personal devices (mobile devices and laptops). Emissions are calculated using a user’s visit length, device type, and location at the country-level. In order to calculate estimated energy consumption, visit duration is multiplied by a power draw factor in Watts, and converted to kWh. The power draw factor is determined by device type: mobile devices and non-mobile, assumed to be laptops. For mobile devices, we incorporate charging efficiency of 75%, while for non-mobile devices, we assume that the device is plugged in during use, in real-world adjusted, high active mode (i.e. a charging efficiency of 100%).
Average country-level emissions factors are applied to the resulting electricity consumption to derive the associated emissions.
[1] As part of our continued commitment to maintain accountability for our GHG emissions, in 2021, we further expanded the scope of our measured and reported GHG emissions inventory and refined the methodologies used to calculate our Scope 3 GHG emissions: 1) In Scope 3 - Category 3, we refined our methodology to capture GHG emissions from fuel and energy related activities not already included in Scope 1 and 2; (2) we updated the supplier spend data, emission factors, and categorizations included in our Scope 3 - Category 1 emissions calculations,resulting in higher emissions year-over-year (3) In Scope 3 - Category 9, for the first time, we included GHG emissions related to packaging used to ship items sold on Depop. (4) In Scope 3 - Category 11, for the first time we included GHG emissions related to energy used to power buyers and sellers devices’ when using Depop. As a result of the aforementioned changes in scope, methodology, and our continued efforts at further accountability, some categories of emissions data are not comparable from year to year.
[2] tCO2e refers to tonnes (t) of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (e)
[3] Historically Depop has used the terminology 'climate neutral' in line with the South Pole label. Going forward, we will use the terminology ‘carbon neutral’ in line with Etsy Inc. and will continue to balance our measured GHG emissions through investing in verified emission reductions (VERs).
[4] Franklin Associates. Life cycle inventory of packaging options for shipment of retail mail-order soft goods. Prepared for Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and U.S. EPA environmentally preferable purchasing program. April 2004.