Sustainability at Wayfair: A Q&A with Anna Vinogradova

As we shared our latest Corporate Responsibility report with the world, which offers a transparent look at our progress against our key commitments, we also saw an opportunity to have those who are most deeply involved in our core pillars – Our Communities, Our Workplace, and Our Planet – speak to them directly and offer their perspectives on our progress and achievements.

Below, read our Q&A with Anna Vinogradova, Wayfair’s Head of Global Sustainability and ESG, to hear her thoughts on sustainability at Wayfair, what it means to be a sustainable business, highlights from our report, the opportunities that lie ahead, and more.

What does it mean to be a sustainable business, and how does Wayfair pursue that vision?

Anna Vinogradova_A05_high res.jpg
Anna Vinogradova, Global Head of Sustainability and ESG

Shifting your business towards sustainability is a journey. It starts with taking an end-to-end view of your value chain, identifying core environmental and social challenges, and then taking steps to address them. From there, you start maturing the programs you’ve built and embedding it all into your business’s DNA.

Wayfair prioritizes integrating sustainability into our daily business practices, starting with our own operations. This involves implementing energy savings measures, working on onsite renewable energy contracts and reducing waste – inclusive of returns and damages waste.

Through our Shop Sustainably program, we also empower customers to make sustainable choices when they shop with us. By curating a selection of products with sustainable certificates, we make it easier for customers to identify and purchase environmentally and socially friendly products.

Transparency is becoming a fundamental aspect of Wayfair’s sustainability efforts, too. In this report, for the first time, we are disclosing metrics in reference to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting frameworks.

While we are at the beginning of our sustainability journey, Wayfair is proud of the impactful initiatives we have undertaken and which are shared in this CR Report. We understand that there is much more work to be done, and we remain committed to creating a more sustainable future.

If you could highlight or underline items from Our Planet section of this report that you’re most proud of, what would they be?

There are several achievements from the “Our Planet” section that I am particularly proud of:

First is the progress of our Shop Sustainably program. Through this initiative, we now expanded the offer to over 15,000 third-party certified products and made it easy for customers to search and browse those products through a dedicated filter and icons. This empowers our customers to align their values with their purchasing decisions and supports the demand for sustainable products in the market.

Furthermore, I'm proud to share that Wayfair joined an aggregated vPPA for a solar farm in Texas which will advance our progress towards our goal of reducing Scope 1&2 emissions by 63% by 2035. By investing in new renewable energy sources, we are actively reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to the growth of clean energy generation.

Another achievement that stands out is our success in achieving 83% curbside recyclability of Wayfair's procured packaging materials globally. Our teams have worked tirelessly to introduce sustainable packaging solutions that not only protect our products during transit and ensure they are delivered safely, but also minimize waste and associated environmental impacts.

What would you say are the biggest opportunities that lie ahead?

The first opportunity that comes to mind is further integrating sustainability into Wayfair’s DNA by fostering data-driven decision-making processes, establishing KPIs to measure progress, and fostering a culture of sustainability champions across different teams and buildings. A company’s people are its most powerful asset, and when sustainability becomes deeply ingrained in the culture, it has the potential to unlock massive impacts across the organization.

Second, addressing Scope 3 emissions from products and transportation continues to be a major opportunity. This will require continued collaboration with our suppliers, logistics partners, and stakeholders to develop strategies that reduce emissions beyond our own operations.

Finally, a crucial opportunity ahead of us is gaining better visibility into our product supply chain and establishing better processes around sustainable wood sourcing and the use of chemicals in our products.

How do you engage your leadership and business teams in sustainability matters?

Last year we created an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) governance system that enables oversight of how we pursue and implement sustainability across our business. As part of this governance system, we have our Operations and Products & Suppliers Impact Committees, which consist of leaders from across the company. These groups help us with sustainability strategies development, business activation and progress tracking.

Additionally, with each priority topic – like renewable energy, zero waste, Shop Sustainably and packaging – we engage internal and external stakeholders to make progress. In many areas, business teams are proactively driving sustainability programs that are win-win for the planet and business, such as energy savings in the EU or sustainable packaging improvements globally.

Why is it important that Wayfair started using GRI & SASB frameworks for the disclosure?

These frameworks provide standardized reporting guidelines, ensuring transparency and comparability in our ESG performance. They cover a wide range of environmental, social, and governance aspects, allowing us to disclose comprehensive information. By following these frameworks, we engage stakeholders, foster transparency, and promote accountability. It's about building trust.

Additionally, the frameworks help us assess our performance, identify areas for improvement, and drive continuous progress. Overall, their adoption reinforces our commitment to sustainability and strengthens our reporting practices.