Offering practical and eco-friendly services

The natural resources the Earth can produce in a year are being consumed more and more quickly. Human consumption is directly related to this state of affairs and Decathlon is aware of its responsibility.

Since 2016, Decathlon has started talking about ‘sports users’ instead of customers. This decision reflects our desire to place value on playing sports and interacting with products, rather than on permanent possession.

Today, our teammates are working to increase product durability, thinking about reparability and product end-of-life from the design phase onward. We can reduce the strain our company places on natural resources by expanding initiatives such as designing sturdy and easily repairable products, creating a new life for products through the second-hand market and providing collection points to make recycling easier.

Notre action sur nos offres, en chiffres
en 2017

2017 Summary

We continue to pursue our global strategy of making our products more durable and avoiding the destruction of articles.

We are rethinking the Trocathlon model to better meet our users’ needs.

We are creating a product donation approach in line with legal requirements.

Workshops focused on product sustainability

We operate 20 regional workshops around the world and every Decathlon store has its own repair workshop.

These workshops are intended to support sports users in the use and upkeep of their products, to make the most of their investment, and in the process extend the products’ durability.

We believe that most repairs could be avoided with better product maintenance. That is why we encourage sportspeople to come in and learn how to care for their equipment from our technical experts.

To make sports users more independent and help them learn to do things themselves, we sell spare parts through our online portal and provide explanatory tutorials to help them through the repair process on our website: https://support. decathlon.fr/.

Workshops are also a great place to see how users actually use our products. That is why workshops offer support to Decathlon brands and work in close collaboration with a workshop technician.

Starting this year, the Decathlon brand teams are also responsible for listing the components needed to repair their products.

Both actions serve a single purpose: to improve overall product design by thinking about reparability from the very beginning.

Key project figures:

In 2017, repair solutions were found for 253,000 products, 43% more than in 2016.

Users reported their satisfaction by rating service quality a 4.4/5 (compared with 4.3 in 2016).

The Rewind project: doing better by adopting the circular economy principle

In 2016 Decathlon launched “Rewind”, a circular economy project, providing the perfect illustration of one of the four ‘R’s (reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle).

Still in its pilot stage, this project involves collecting end-of-life clothing, reducing it into fibres, and using these fibres to make thread, fabric, and ultimately new products.

In 2017, we sold 2.9 million pairs of tennis socks made from industrial fabric scraps based on this idea.

The project group is a consortium of five members who represent the different stages of the cotton value chain in France: Laroche, a manufacturer of recycling machines, TDV, a spinning/weaving company, the European Centre for Innovative Textiles (CETI), the Catholic Institute of Arts and Trades (ICAM) and Decathlon.

In 2017, the consortium received public funding from ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, to continue its work.

Resource recovery: optimising our use of materials to increase their lifespan

Romain BIELAIRE, Production Leader for Heavy Stitching Processes, Euromed Region and Marco DARIOLI, Quality Manager of the OQS Team (Operational Quality Solutions).

How did the “punching bag” project get its start?
Marco: In February 2017, we realised we had a quality problem with our ski socks. The finished product did not meet our requirements. We couldn't sell them, so we had to destroy them.
Romain: At that time, I was working with a supplier in the Czech Republic, Gala, that was filling their punching bags with textile scraps from the automotive industry, which we purchased. When I heard that, I realised we had an opportunity to use the defective socks to fill these punching bags.
What challenges did this project face?
Romain: To make this reuse strategy possible, we needed to create a warehouse/supplier stream to collect and store defective products. In order to comply with the punching bag specifications, we worked with Chloé Bousquet, a Product Engineer, to adjust the product design and production tools so that we could use a wider range of scraps as filling.
What opportunities did this situation create?
Marco: Any time we have a quality problem, we do everything we can to repair the products in question, but sometimes it's too expensive or not technically possible. Non-repairable products that cannot be donated are recycled as much as possible. I'm a big nature lover and I really want to be able to express my personal convictions in the work that I do. When I'm able to help reduce waste as part of my job, I feel like I'm being useful and acting as a good citizen.
Romain: This project also benefitted my department because it increased our production capacity. We wanted this to be more than a one-off success, so we worked with the legal teams to make this project reproducible anywhere in the world. We also made an amendment to our contract with our supplier to make this decision official.
« 55 tonnes of product have been recovered and turned into punching bags »

since the project began

Unsold merchandise: choosing to donate rather than destroy

Florence CONDETTE, Inventory Management Project Leader,

Audrey LEURENT, Quality Advisor and Romain CODRON, Legal Advisor explain Decathlon’s donation process for unsold products.

How did this project to donate to associations get its start?
Florence: There were several factors that sparked this project. We started with an observation: we had too much old stock just sitting in our warehouses. These were new products from previous seasons that could not be sold. They took up space but because they were in perfect condition, we had no reason to get rid of them.
When we were creating Vision 2026, in particular the “Decathlon Blue and Green” section, many of our teammates felt inspired and asked to become involved at their own level.
Audrey: Sometimes products don't meet specifications, or the quality of brand products is not up to our standards. In these instances, the first thing we do is try to repair the products so that they can be sold under new conditions. Until now, any products that couldn't be repaired had to be destroyed; there was no other option. This bothered us. We wanted to make a change and donate the products rather than destroy them.
Romain: We looked into many different initiatives in France and abroad and saw that there were potential legal risks involved. We wanted to make donating a more common practice, though, so we worked together to ensure that donations could be structured, standardized and above all, part of a routine process.
What goes into donating products to an association?
Romain: We created an internal best practices guide that gives a basic universal framework to meet the specific needs of the different parties who get involved. We wanted to make donations as simple as possible. Donations should be easy to make, whether you're in a warehouse, store, or in the central office.
We have some associations with whom we've built up very strong partnerships and signed agreements. In general, we sign an agreement once and then can make as many donations as we need.
What types of products do you donate?
Audrey: We don't donate any “safety” products or personal protective equipment because we don't want to risk the end user's safety. We donate products that work as intended that won't put the users in danger.
What are some of the difficulties you've encountered?
Audrey: We often work with large quantities, so it's sometimes difficult for local associations to find enough recipients or to store these products. They generally don't have the infrastructure to do so. Therefore, we chose to donate to larger organisations that handle this kind of distribution to local associations based on the time of year, target populations, specific needs, etc.
Romain: So far, we've written our best practices guide that will need to be tested out in France. Later, we hope to disseminate it more broadly in the other countries where we have distribution operations.
What are some of the difficulties you've encountered?
Audrey: We often work with large quantities, so it's sometimes difficult for local associations to find enough recipients or to store these products. They generally don't have the infrastructure to do so. Therefore, we chose to donate to larger organisations that handle this kind of distribution to local associations based on the time of year, target populations, specific needs, etc.
Romain: So far, we've written our best practices guide that will need to be tested out in France. Later, we hope to disseminate it more broadly in the other countries where we have distribution operations.

Trocathlon: coming closer to users’ needs through targeted events

Trocathlons are events where sports users can buy and sell used equipment.

While the concept was launched in 1986, 2017 marked a turning point for this initiative: we redesigned the format for Trocathlon events and the online platform (occasions.decathlon.fr) to better meet sports users’ needs. Our goal was to make it simpler to purchase and reuse second-hand sporting goods and also to improve the system’s reliability and technical features.

Until recently, Trocathlon events were open to all sports, creating both logistics and human limitations, and they did not fully address all of our sports users’ needs. We therefore decided to change how often we held Trocathlon events so that we could organise them on demand. Now, sport-specific events are held throughout the year all across France. The Decathlon second-hand platform was also improved, allowing users to sign up for events and get in touch with each other. We evaluate the equipment that’s on offer and organise events to reflect current needs.