Environmental labelling for responsible consumption
With this large-scale project that was set up in 2009, Decathlon clearly displays its aim to inform customers of the environmental performance of its products. By giving this information, we offer them the opportunity to apply this criterion when making a purchase and encourage them to consume responsibly.
Environmental labelling covers all information for the public concerning the environmental impact of a product or service.
The information may be presented using a label, in text form, a logo or pictogram.
Our objective is threefold:
- Encourage collaborators to work on reducing the environmental impacts of their products and services by integrating an eco-design initiative.
- Communicate in-store and on-line, in every country, information that enables customers to apply this environmental criterion when making a purchase.
- Promote the labelling by detailing and sharing our methods with other market players and the public authorities
ABCDE: a new barometer
At Decathlon, we opted for the pictogram solution to represent a rating of A to E. This format uses colour-coding that is well known by the general public since it is already used for household electrical appliances and in the automobile industry.
The performance of these products was displayed during the 2015 Autumn-Winter season.
A commercial issue
Numerous tests were performed in 2015 to assess the interest of our customers in the process.
During the 2015 Autumn-Winter season, 264 products on our website decathlon.fr were accompanied by the information.
of French people believe those involved in the sports sector have a role to play in the protection of the environment.
Our teams also carried out a test in 5 stores in France in the Rhône-Alpes region. The test concerned specific product lines and confirmed our convictions and strengthened our ambition to deploy the rating to all Decathlon products.
On an international scale we also display the ratings on our on-line retail websites. In some countries the system is not very well understood and we will make the required modifications in accordance with the cultural differences.
A technical issue
Different criteria are taken into consideration when assessing a product.
What information is used to calculate the values?
- The database provided by the research and engineering people and government bodies,
- The design data obtained from technical product data (parts list, lifespan, place of production…)
The database we use was created by a specialised engineering firm. It will be replaced in 2016 by the public database “Base IMPACTS®”, provided by ADEME.
The participation of Passion brand teams and industrial processes teams
The environmental profile is fully integrated by our engineers into the product development tools, thereby industrialising the assessment method as early as the design stage.
To promote our rating process, an environmental labelling project coordinator and project manager responsible for the calculations, quality and reliability of the information, facilitate a network of motivated and enthusiastic environmental leaders. Today, their priority is to continue and to train others in calculating and modelling the impacts of our products.
Calculating the impact of products feeds three initiatives:
- Environmental labelling.
- Decathlon’s global environmental performance.
of engineers are trained and autonomous in the calculation of the impact of their products.
How do you integrate this procedure into your daily work routine?
Each new model of sleeping bag was modelled to assess its environmental performance, in other words its impact on the environment according to different criteria. My team and I think about eco-design solutions to ensure the impact is either equal to or lower than that of the previous year. Our challenge for 2016 is to create a rating scale for the airbeds and add them to the labelling project.
What is your role in the project?
As a product engineer, I have to assess all the components of my products (airbeds and sleeping bags). This assessment is incorporated into the CAD tools and enables us to make comparisons. It therefore influences our choices in terms of materials and accessories throughout the product development process.
Can you tell us about a key project you worked on in 2015?
In 2015 we validated the use of organic cotton for our sleeping bag liner and top of the range sleeping bag. The products are the result of close collaboration between our yarn specialist teams and our supplier.
How would you qualify environmental labelling?
For me it’s a real opportunity to save our planet and our quality of life in general, whether you are a member of the general public, a user, designer or manufacturer. It’s definitely not a constraint. It’s a great challenge for the whole team to rethink and redesign our products. It’s a fantastic means to boost product innovation!
Retailers join in and experiment
In 2009 Decathlon participated in an experiment concerning the environmental assessment of consumer goods in collaboration with 10 other mass retail outlets. The experiment evolved to become, in 2011, a national experiment thanks to the Ministry of Ecology and the motivation of 168 companies.
Decathlon continues to anticipate future changes in consumer habits and has continued the adventure by participating since 2013 in a European initiative alongside other retailers and manufacturers. The goal is to draw up, test and deploy a common method for calculating the environmental performance of a product or organisation. This will make it possible to compare products and deploy environmental labelling on a global scale.
Our PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) actions
This is a ‘pilot’ project launched by the European Commission and that Decathlon is involved in. As part of the project, Decathlon collaborators are involved in the drawing up of the method for the T-shirt range and also play a role as stakeholders in the project concerning leather-free shoes.
It is through our participation in the PEF project that our methods of calculation have been challenged by other retailers and also some certified organisms such as ADEME or with the help of research firms specialized in the field.
We are actively participating in the co-writing of benchmarks for calculation procedures.