Louise-Eglantine Guillaume
Head of Sustainability, Compliance and Institutional Affairs
Decathlon
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Expert Contributor

Sustainability is Part of the DNA of Every Decathlonian

By Louise-Eglantine Guillaume | Tue, 01/26/2021 - 13:10

At Decathlon, we have four main values engraved in our DNA: Responsibility, Authenticity, Vitality and Generosity. Those values are strongly linked to our commitment to sustainability.

We sell sports products and we are conscious that our activity has an impact: from production to transportation up to retail and the end of life of our product. And we also know that to carry on practicing the sports we love, such as hiking, diving or running, we need to diminish our impact on the environment.

Our collaborators' involvement is key to integrating sustainability into our business model. Decathlon grew from 25 countries to more than 50 in just a few years, and now it has more than 100,000 collaborators. The challenge is to keep everyone involved in that issue according to their activities. Each country has within their teams various collaborators who integrate this topic. Sustainable development was integrated as a core topic in the vision of the company in 2016 and our sense includes the concept, “to sustainably make the benefits of sport and sporting disciplines accessible to as many people as possible over the long term.”

Climate change and the climate crisis is, of course, one of the main issues of our century: our generation is facing a great challenge and the private initiative is key. At Decathlon, we are committed to reducing our CO2 impact. In Mexico, the first step we are taking is understanding where our impacts are the most important so as to adapt and implement measures, such as installing LED lamps in our stores. Globally, Decathlon has made the commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2026. We are still looking for the best solution in Mexico as well as hoping for the development and support of those solutions in a country blessed by the sun.

As Decathlon is not only a retailer but also a producer of products, meaning that all products are designed and developed internally, we can actually act on them and, for years, we have been eco-designing our products. A product is eligible for the eco-design label if it is at least 20 percent less environmentally harmful compared to the previous product. In the design phase, choices are made that reduce the weighted environmental impact by at least 20 percent. The designer can, for example, choose to use recycled material, another more sustainable type of raw material, or significantly extend the life of the product. For instance, one of our most popular products, the Quechua polar fleece is made of 100 percent recycled polyester. In 2019, 95 percent of the cotton used in our products came from organic, recycled or BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) agriculture, compared with 76 percent in 2018. Our objective is that in 2026, 100 percent of our products will be eco-designed.

Finally, a sustainable strategy without considering the implication for our nearby communities would be senseless. Locally, we aim to involve our teams and clients. For the last three years, we have been participating in the World Cleanup Day initiative aimed at cleaning up our environment by picking up garbage alongside our collaborators and clients. This year was, of course, special given the pandemic: we adapted the format and organized a virtual race where our clients and collaborators could run and pick up garbage individually. We are also in the process of launching our first Foundation initiatives. Those projects will be launched and supported by our stores and collaborators to create a local impact with NGOs so that the maximum number of people can enjoy doing sports.

We would love to invite you to read our annual sustainable report for more details and more actions. With five years of existence in Mexico and 12 stores, we are looking to grow sustainably in Mexico and have a positive impact, step by step.