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Amazon FBA Boosts Sustainability Efforts With Two Circular Commerce Programs

Amazon has introduced two new Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) programs to help merchants selling on Amazon resell customer-returned or overstocked items. Once fully implemented, the programs are expected to save more than 300 million products from the landfill each year by giving them subsequent lives.

FBA Liquidations will provider sellers the option to use Amazon’s existing wholesale liquidation partners and technology to recoup potential losses on returned and overstock inventory. The program is currently live in the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and Spain, and will go live in the UK in the near future.

FBA Grade and Resell gives third-party sellers the tools to sell returned products on Amazon as “used” items. Amazon will evaluate the item and mark it as Used – Like New, Used – Very Good, Used – Good or Used – Acceptable. Merchants can then set the price for items based on their condition and manage pricing, advertising and sales using their existing processes.

FBA Grade and Resell is currently available in the UK and will expand to the U.S. by the end of 2021. Amazon sellers in Germany, France, Italy and Spain will have access to the program by early 2022.

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“Customer returns are a fact of life for all retailers, and what to do with those products is an industry-wide challenge,” said Libby Johnson McKee, Director, Amazon WW Returns, ReCommerce and Sustainability in a statement. “These new programs are examples of the steps we’re taking to ensure that products sold on Amazon — whether by us or our small business partners — go to good use and don’t become waste. Along with existing programs like FBA Donations, we hope these help build a circular economy, maximize reuse, and reduce our impact on the planet.”

The programs join FBA Donations, which was launched in 2019 and 2020 in the U.S., UK and France. This option lets merchants hand off unwanted product to Amazon so that they can be donated to pre-vetted charity partners. More than 67 million items, including household and school supplies, have been donated to charities including Good360, Age UK and Secours Populaire.

Circular commerce is gaining traction among major retailers as a competitive edge for companies looking to boost their appeal to environmentally conscious shoppers. In June 2021, Farfetch partnered with ThredUP to launch a donation program for its U.S. customers. Shoppers can collect their unwanted apparel and either ship it directly to Farfetch or have it picked up for free. The collected items are sold through ThredUP, with 50% of the proceeds going to charity.

Furniture rental retailer Fernish is bringing circular commerce to the next level by introducing it to durable home goods. Fernish defines its furniture as “circular-ready.” The company uses a combination of parts and fabric replacement, as well as an 11-step sanitation and refurbishment process using sustainably sourced materials, to let customers rent its products for anywhere from two months to two years before refurbishing them and sending them to their next home.

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