Optimising our energy and waste management

“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” is Goal 7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To rise to this global challenge, Decathlon has a role to play in conserving the resources we consume, especially when it comes to raw materials and energy.

In every country where our stores are located, an Energy Leader is responsible for reducing energy consumption at our sites. This management helped our stores cut consumption by 8.8% in 2017.

The large number of new site openings resulted in an increase in waste production in 2017. Many of our users and teammates are increasingly concerned about this, which has prompted a growing number of initiatives throughout the world. Clearly we have room to improve in this area: we must capitalise on the good practices that have already been identified so that we can implement a broader approach to sorting and recycling the waste we produce.

le 31/12/2017

2017 Summary

The network of Country Environmental Leaders continued to grow and evolve as more and more countries developed their own local strategies.

The sorting rate for our waste was down worldwide, but at the same time it improved at the store level in European countries.

A worldwide network dedicated to managing energy

To answer the global imperative to reduce energy consumption, we put in place a network of Energy Leaders who strive to effect change on this issue. Each quarter, the teams provide information about consumption in their country.

They report on the energy consumed by the networks of stores and warehouses in each country. They collect environmental data (electricity use, renewable energy, natural gas, and waste production and sorting), develop the local strategy for their areas in line with regional needs and resources, and implement the resulting action plans.

The data they collect gives them accurate information about the environmental impact of their sites, so they can take stock of the main emissions sources and use this information to design their action plans.

Using this network-based structure means that we can target our local efforts more closely. Each country has different needs, due to the local climate (heating or air conditioning, more or less lighting, etc.), and different available resources (energy produced from solar panels in places with sufficient sunlight, for instance).

This makes it possible for us to exchange good practices for the benefit of all, and to increase our expertise in this area for more flexible and effective decisions and faster local implementation.

A comprehensive environmental policy: Spain's story

Decathlon Spain began drafting their environmental strategy in 2014. A Country Leader was named in 2015 to roll out an energy and waste management action plan for the entire country in order to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve energy resources by optimising their processes.

Hands-on projects were created, such as Spain Clean Up Day, where users and teammates pitch in and collect rubbish, soft mobility solutions were rolled out for employees (carsharing, providing bicycles and bicycle parking areas for users), circular economy initiatives were introduced (with in-store collection and recycling points to turn tennis balls into flip-flops), hunting cartridges were collected (270,000 cartridges in all, equalling two tonnes of plastic and metal), and the Zero Decote (zero waste) programme was developed to encourage teammates to ensure that no items are thrown away unnecessarily. For instance, special reference numbers were created (for canteen stoppers, packaging components, etc.) so that these products could be easily located in the aisles and we would not have to order new ones. This programme helped save nearly 2.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

All these actions are listed on the external sustainable development website:


Waste treatment: broadening the scope of our policy

Our business activities all produce waste, which is managed every day by teams in our stores, branded sites, central services and warehouses. The waste is mainly paper, cardboard, plastic, metal scraps and wood from our packaging materials, defective products and everyday consumables.

In 2017 over 88,002 tonnes of waste were generated by our sites.

While some countries have developed an organised waste management approach in partnership with service providers, many others have not yet reached this point, as Decathlon is heavily reliant on existing recycling streams and local regulations. We are well aware of the progress we have left to accomplish and we intend to build a network of independent and responsible leaders like the ones who manage our energy consumption.

Applying the 3rs strategy to our hangers (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle)

In 2014 we launched a project for putting Decathlon products on hangers at the production stage. All our clothing has arrived at the store on hangers since 2015. We wanted to create a closed collection loop to reduce our waste and our GHG emissions.

Now, teams in eight countries collect hangers so these can be recycled and used to make new hangers for Decathlon. In 2017 we recycled 1,575 tonnes of plastic hangers, an increase of 63% over the previous year (964 tonnes in 2016). In addition, all the hangers purchased this year were made from 50% recycled plastic.

In addition, we put a system in place to collect hangers in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany so that they can be reused as is, without the recycling step. In 2017 the 200,000 hangers we collected helped save 19 tonnes of CO2.