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Industry Talk

Eliminating unsold and returned stock

Research reveals how Otrium plays a part in reshaping the way fashion is produced and ultimately sold.

21st June 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Amsterdam

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

With the support of tech start-up Vaayu, Amsterdam-headquartered online fashion platform Otrium has published a comprehensive analysis of the carbon emissions and waste that can be  avoided with its off-price business model.

Vaayu used its proprietary AI and machine learning technology alongside its team of in-house Life Cycle Assessment experts to gather insights from over 45 fashion brands and data from almost five million fashion products live on Otrium to calculate carbon at a granular science-based level.

The research explores the broader role that modern outlet business models like Otrium can play in contributing to a more circular fashion industry by providing an alternative to waste streams for unsold and returned stock.

It represents a new contribution to understanding the end-of-life phase of fashion products as one of the largest data sets on unsold stock practices. In 2022, based on these calculations, Otrium prevented 6,496 tons of carbon emissions (CO₂e) and 104 tons of waste by providing fashion brands with a profitable solution to clear unsold inventory.

Otrium partners with over 400 fashion brands like Filippa K, Mara Hoffman, Everlane, Outerknown and Closed to reach new consumers and extend the life of collections.

With the help of Vaayu, it now has access to live carbon tracking at a product and brand level, enabling the business to monitor across transactions and use this data to drive real-time decision-making around impact.

To support its five million members globally in making informed choices outside trend and seasonal models, Otrium is also working with sustainable and ethical brand rating organisation Good On You, which benchmarks the brands on Otrium based on their social and environmental impact. Otrium also revalues damaged items like returns, repairs them and feeds them back into the cycle.

“In 2015, we founded Otrium to play a part in reshaping how fashion is produced and ultimately sold,” said co-founder Max Klijnstra. “Our business model is a first step in solving the growing challenge of unsold inventory. As a next step,the results from our Otrium 2022 Impact Report will inform and strengthen our sustainability strategy and climate targets. We will also use it to transparently communicate our progress with our community, brand partners and the fashion industry. At Otrium, we will be working steadily towards improving our impact one step at a time.”

“Our ultimate goal is to have a net positive impact,” added the company’s  head of sustainability Marlot Kiveron. “This means giving back more than we take through our business model and operations. Creating impact is constant. The goal of this report is to measure our progress and to stay accountable by sharing this externally. Understanding the impact of both our business model as well as our operations in real-time, helps us to accelerate positive change.”

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