“Few large companies have really changed their business model to deal with the climate emergency,” notes Laure Blondel, Director of Brands, Products and Responsible Consumption Consulting at GreenFlex, a company that supports companies in their environmental transition. How to explain it? ” Above all, they see the sustainability of their economic model and cannot change everything overnight. »
“Some are opportunists and are proud of initiatives that in reality have nothing to do with their turnover and do not influence the economic model”, adds Elisabeth Laville, director of Utopies, a consultancy specializing in the environment. It will be understood that a big brand that collects used clothes with a view to recycling and that continues to launch new collections monthly at low prices and manufactured on the other side of the planet may not be as virtuous as it claims.
But others, without being perfect, progress. They are under even more pressure to do so as smaller brands come to take market share from them with virtuous and innovative models. Laure Blondel and Elisabeth Laville helped us select six that really started a change.
Furniture. Camif, the company that wants to transfer furniture production to France
Former cooperative founded in 1947 by professors, this company specialized in the sale of furniture and objects for the home developed in the mail order model. Placed in compulsory liquidation in 2008, it was acquired by the Matelsom group with a new e-commerce model committed to responsible consumption. It achieved B Corp certification in 2015 and became a mission-oriented company in 2020.
concretely ? Since 2013, Camif has displayed on its website the manufacturing locations of each of its products, the origin of its main components and the number of kilometers traveled to reach the factory. At the end of 2021, the brand will definitively eliminate products manufactured outside Europe from its offer, while these still represented 7.8% of its catalogue. Today, 77% of its revenue comes from products made in France.
your new challenge Keep the share of its turnover in France above 70%.
The expert opinion “In a furniture market dominated by large Asian imports of often dubious quality, Camif has adopted a model that shows that it is possible to save a brand and reconnect with economic success by betting radically on location, quality and sustainability. And this, with great ripple effect on French manufacturers, known or not »summarizes Elisabeth Laville of Utopias.
Hygiene-cosmetics. Mustela, the brand that bets on skin care of natural origin
Created in 1950, the brand of the pharmaceutical and dermocosmetic laboratory Expanscience sells care and hygiene products specially designed for babies and mothers. She has been certified by B Corp since 2018.
concretely ? In 2010, it started an ecodesign approach, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of the entire life cycle of its products (supply, production, distribution, packaging, end of life). By optimizing its packaging, it has since saved 152 tonnes of plastic and 78 tonnes of cardboard. In 2020, Mustela decided to go further: to limit the single use of its packaging, it launched refill systems, now deployed in a few dozen points of sale (but only for two products). It has also advanced in the composition of its products: on average 96% of its ingredients are of natural origin (against 80% in 2010). It started in 2019 to offer certified organic products. Nine are today, out of a total of fifty.
your new challenge It is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. It aims to reduce the use of plastic in its products (and favor recycled plastic), develop solid formats and ensure that at least 20% of its products are offered in a refillable version by 2025 .
The expert opinion “The inspiring adventure of a French family business and its historic emblematic brand shows that commitment is not just the business of small innovative brands (such as Lamazuna, for example), but that it is possible to transform into deepening their practices and their products to become a recognized leader in its market »thinks Elisabeth Laville.
Appliance. Darty, the brand that aims to combat planned obsolescence
Founded in 1954, Darty is a company specialized in the sale of home appliances, computer, telephony and audiovisual equipment. Acquired by the Fnac group in 2016, the brand had 465 stores in France at the end of 2021.
concretely ? With the aim of prolonging the useful life of products, the group launched the Darty Max subscription in 2019. The principle: individuals who subscribe to it benefit from a repair service with no limit to the number of devices, faults or age, which includes replacement defective parts for all devices purchased from Darty or elsewhere. The price: from 9.99 euros to 19.99 euros per month. The brand has 500,000 subscribers to this service. The group is also developing a second-hand offer (at Darty and Fnac), with refurbished products sold in stores and online, but it does not communicate numbers to know if this measure really matters in its sales.
your new challenge The brand hopes to quadruple the number of subscribers to its Darty Max service by 2025. The goal is to increase the number of products repaired, from 1.7 million a year today to 2.5 million in 2025.
The expert opinion “The used and refurbished market is still timid, but it is a fundamental trend. Tomorrow’s challenge for this type of brand will be not only to offer a second-hand/refurbished offer, but to ensure that it is as desirable or more desirable than the new products.emphasizes Laure Blondel of GreenFlex.
Hobbies. Decathlon, the brand that aspires to include sport in the circular economy
The brand celebrated its 45th anniversary last year. Its first store opened its doors in the North in 1976, on the initiative of Michel Leclercq. Ten years later, Decathlon launched Trocathlon, a unique event during which second-hand sporting goods from individuals are offered for sale by the brand.
concretely ? The company decided in 2018 to go further by selling second-hand products year-round, in stores and online. Today, 94% of its stores carry it. It also allows individuals to rent equipment for a few days to a few months. Camping, fitness and weight training equipment as well as bicycles are available for hire. It also opened maintenance and repair shops in 310 of its stores, with the aim of extending the life of its products. To guide consumers in their purchases, it displays an environmental rating, from A to E, on 63% of its textile and footwear products, calculated over the entire life cycle of the product, using a methodology developed by Ademe (Agency of Ecological Transition) and by the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition.
your new challenge By 2026, it says it wants to display an environmental rating on 100% of its textile and footwear products and wants all its stores to sell second-hand products.
The expert opinion “Decathlon has always placed innovation at the heart of its model and development. Since the main impact of the brand is the production of products (and therefore the extraction of raw materials), all initiatives in favor of a circular economy are welcome”believes Laure Blondel.
Clothing. Galeries Lafayette, the department store that makes fashion more virtuous
The brand was born in 1894 in Paris, on the initiative of two cousins. It now sells products in all price ranges, from clothing to beauty and home.
concretely ? In 2018, the brand set up the Go for Good, an internal seal, displayed on the internet and in stores, to identify the pieces that “have less impact on the environment, support local production or contribute to social development”. To obtain it, a product must meet at least one of the six criteria (on the origin of raw materials, the transformation processes, its shelf life, etc.).
Around 1,000 brands have Go for Good printed products on the shelves of Galeries Lafayette and BHV Marais (ie around sixty stores). Most are clothes, but there are also products in the areas of beauty, jewelry, home and food. “We do not aim to present ‘perfect’ and responsible products in all dimensions, but ‘better’ products compared to the market average, explains Damien Pellé, director of sustainable development. The aim was also to create emulation between brands to encourage them to increase their proportion of responsible offerings. » In 2021, products with this brand accounted for 22% of the two brands’ turnover.
your new challenge Increase this share to 25% of revenue by 2024, while the criteria for claiming it were raised. This year, these brands intend to refer only brands that have at least one product stamped with this label. However, they want all their stores to have a (Re)Store, a sales area dedicated to responsible and second-hand fashion. The first opened in September 2021 at its store on boulevard Haussmann in Paris.
The expert opinion “The responsible commitment of a distributor is first of all the selection of products, then their promotion in stores, with the desire to develop sales. Building on existing labels and robust criteria, the Go for Good approach has already inspired Galeries Lafayette’s main competitor Le Printemps, but also Sephora and Maisons du Monde.”underlines Elisabeth Laville.
eating. Danone, the group that supports its suppliers in regenerative agriculture
Founded in 1919, the French agri-food giant owns brands of dairy and vegetable products (Activia, Danette, Les 2 Vaches, etc.), natural mineral waters (Evian, Volvic, Badoit, etc.). In June 2020, Danone was the first listed company to become a company with a mission. The following year, its certified B Corp subsidiaries accounted for 62% of its turnover.
concretely ? In order to offer an alternative to disposable packaging, the group has been experimenting since 2019 with a deposit system in several of its brands: Blédina, Badoit and Evian. In France, Danone launched the Beet it project to support and train 200 farmers in regenerative agriculture, with a view to having 2,500 hectares cultivated in this way by 2025, with financial and technical support. The group ensures that today 19.7% of key ingredient volumes are sourced directly from farms actively engaged in a regenerative agriculture approach. Since 2016, Danone has also supported 1,400 farmers (training, diagnostics, technical support), reducing their carbon footprint by almost 10%.
Your goals The group aims to obtain B Corp certification for all its subsidiaries by 2025.
The expert opinion “Danone has made a systemic commitment across its value chain, realizing very early on its responsibility to people and their environment, far beyond its scope of direct action. It has carried out in-depth work on these issues in a very collaborative way with its ecosystem”observes Laure Blondel.