THE LIFE OF OUR PRODUCTS
REPORTS & DOCUMENTS
What is the link between our company and biodiversity? A lot more than you would imagine at first sight! We explain in full transparency.
The fauna, flora, air, water… What on earth does all this have to do with DECATHLON?
To be honest, it has everything to do with Decathlon. From creating our products to distributing and selling them in stores, the negative impact on biodiversity is permanent To better understand, let's go back to basics: what is biodiversity? What are the threats to it?And what are the consequences in the event of its decline?
Then we'll scrutinize DECATHLON's responsibility at different levels and the measures put in place. We shall shed light on this vast topic.
The 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) alerts: "1,000,000 species are threatened by extinction".
We can ask ourselves why and where are the threats to fauna and flora coming from? There are multiple sources, all of which are of human origin. According to this report, in order of importance in terms of impact, we find:
#1 Changes in the land and sea use:
It means the overuse of the ocean's resources and also the artificialisation of the land. Natural habitats eroded by urban sprawl. This phenomenon is leading to soil degradation. With the soil surfaces becoming sealed, it leads to erosion, more flooding — the land no longer capable of absorbing water — and the widespread use of concrete contributing to rising temperatures.
75 % of inland water is now intended for livestock farming and agriculture. There is also the construction of dams. The diversion of these different areas for human needs leaves less and less space for wildlife and diminishes the food chains.
#2 Direct exploitation of organisms:
These include overfishing, overexploitation of forests or even agricultural production. The first does not allow for the renewal of species and subsequently harms their ecosystems. For the second and third, the decrease of wooded areas intensifies global warming.
#3 Climate change:
Its consequences are growing, and its influence on wildlife is expected to increase in the years to come. Rising temperatures lead to changes in the distribution of species in territories when they are not directly threatened. The resulting natural disasters or high temperatures variations mechanically influence life cycles. For example, fruit trees that bloom in February and then experience frost in May.
Firstly the pollution of air, soil and water: whether it be chemical pollution, fertilizers, plastic… They not only have an impact on the environment but also on their inhabitants. Plastic is not only the cause of 400 dead zones in the oceans but also causes ill-health and even the demise of many living creatures that ingest it.
Then there is light and noise pollution, which also disturbs wildlife and forces them to change their habitat.
#5 Invasive alien species:
These invasive species are introduced by humans voluntarily or involuntarily and lead to the extinction of the local fauna and flora. Consequently, with less varied food resources, we witness a loss of diversity.
These 5 causes are resulting in the decline of nature and threaten Mankind itself. Just as the COP21 enabled to set targets for countries in terms of limiting global warming, biodiversity awaits the same legal framework. The COP15 biodiversity was postponed several times with the public health crisis and is expected to be held in China in 2022 to address this challenge.
It is vital to measure our negative impact, in other words, assess our biodiversity footprint just like you do for a carbon footprint, to prioritise and structure our action.The difference is, it is considered in debt terms. There is the concept of the past, which doesn't exist in the carbon footprint calculation. For example, the act of laying down tarmac on a surface then ceasing this activity does not regenerate biodiversity. When you stop emitting CO2, you effectively cease to do it more or less in the short term because the former is captured by photosynthesis.
For our biodiversity footprint, the measurement indicator selected in 2020 was the MSA.km² (or Mean Species Abundance), which means the average abundance of species per square kilometre. This unit was renamed in 2021 for ease of understanding and relevance. We have decided to focus our attention on the surface area occupation. DECATHLON's offset will be expressed in "artificialised km 2 equivalent", just like "Kg of CO2 equivalent" for the carbon footprint. Still, in the measurement phase, the expressed offset will enable us to precisely determine the priority areas of action.
Moreover, putting a cost to DECATHLON debt towards wildlife will enable us to have a frame of reference to find out if the implemented action plans increase, sustain or reduce it.
DECATHLON now wants to design layouts with a positive biodiversity impact. So before starting the construction of any new building, a site or a car park refurbishment, we carry out a diagnosis based on 74 biodiversity criteria.
The following, in particular, are taken into account:
- ecological continuity,
- water resources,
- plant-based density,
- light pollution,
- the climate,
- quality of life.
At the end of this assessment, the diagnosis lets us determine a rating ranging from 0 to 100. The minimum acceptable standard is 50/100 because we estimate that at this threshold the requirements are met to let wildlife move around, feed and reproduce freely.
On the first experimental site of Saint-Malo (France), the initial diagnosis before the works was 42/100, 3 years later it is 79/100. These adjustments, therefore, met the conditions allowing wildlife to flourish properly.
The Saint-Jouan-des-Guérêts pilot site, close to Saint-Malo (France), enables us to put a certain number of replicable principles in place to support biodiversity for any future store.
The first principle: limit the damage of urbanisation by investing, for example, in uncultivated land or monoculture farmland. Followed then by these other objectives: transform, prevent, reduce and compensate.
The founding principle is to support ecological corridors along the lines of 4 strategies:
The green template: it promotes the movement and habitats of species, with unfenced land, late summer cutting, as well as a density and variety of flora. In this way, animals are free to move around, feed, reproduce and hide among the vegetation, nest boxes or bug hotels placed around the plot of land. The vegetation helps to filter pollutants (carbon sequestration) and create cooling island effects. 175 plant species (trees, fruit trees, shrubs) were planted in Saint-Jouan, compared to 20 previously.
The blue template: here, it is a case of combating soil surface sealing and reducing the speed of surface water runoff, which improves rainwater management. The vegetated ditch and infiltration basin are actual wetland habitat area, allowing aquatic wildlife to flourish. They also limit the risk of flooding and help to contribute to groundwater recharge.
The brown template: 25 % of diversity is found in the soils. In the same vein, the challenge was to preserve continuity in the subsoil to support the development of fungus and bacteria. If the soil is not aerated, the green template can't be in good condition either. It is why we maintain the area with conservation grazing. A herd of sheep grazing on the plot of land is preferable to using a heavy-duty lawn mower that packs down the earth.
The black template: this is about preserving nocturnal fauna. We revamped the lighting to cause the least possible hindrance. It translates into downward-facing lighting, equipped with sensors that turn on when there is traffic.We have also thought of bat boxes
Lastly, we installed 2 beehives, meaning a population of 120,000 bees. They are a good indicator of the naturalness of the site and its surroundings. In Saint-Jouan, they produced 22 kg of honey, when, on average, 3.5 kg is expected elsewhere. It not only means that no phytosanitary products are used in the surrounding area but on top of that, their ecosystem is sufficiently varied because they have very little distance to cover, enabling them to retrieve more pollen and subsequently produce more honey.
We carried out similar adjustments on the site in Lorient (France), and 14 projects are in progress in line with this same approach. The objective, just like the first two projects, is to get the "Signature Biodiversité" label, environmental certification for 100 % of our future new property construction projects in France. This landscaping company provides guidance and supervises companies wanting to facilitate environmental performance in their project, from the programme's initial inception to the implementation of measures.
We have set out our objectives for the next 2 coming years. We, first of, all want to renature 10 % of DECATHLON's French property.
Then our priority is to reinforce our teams' skills relating to water consumption: the quantities used in manufacturing and their treatment, the increasing scarcity of this natural resource and the impact of factories on biodiversity.
Moreover, to be able to respond more globally to the challenges linked to biodiversity, DECATHLON is getting involved in a certain number of approaches and surrounding itself with experts to help it gain expertise on this issue:
In 2020 February, DECATHLON signed the 10 principles of the "Companies invested in nature — act4nature France" initiative, such as:
Integrate biodiversity in our company strategy,
Open dialogue with all our stakeholders about our impact and our measures,
assess the different biodiversity components that concern us,
firstly prevent, reduce and lastly provide compensation for our impacts,
publicly report back on our actions plans, etc.
This initiative by the French biodiversity agency (OFB) brought together 38 companies in December 2019, joining in with a programme of continuous improvement in favour of the preservation of biodiversity. We are talking about measuring the pressure we put on biodiversity, identifying our priorities, and drawing up our aims in this area. With our biodiversity protection action plan now delivered, the next step to come is: the audit of our results for 2023.
We got in touch with ORÉE, a multi-acting organisation established in 1992 and recognised at a national and international level, to benefit from their advice. It is, in particular, appointed to represent France at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
DECATHLON is trained up by CDC Biodiversity and relies on its GBS tool to assess the consequences of its activities on biodiversity. The French Deposit & Consignments Fund's subsidiary is also providing us with guidance on the critical review of the biodiversity study.
Getting an understanding of the issue, measuring our impacts… just some of the compulsory steps in getting to grips with the issue of "biodiversity" at DECATHLON. Now fully aware of the stakes its preservation represents for us all, we are sure our actions will grow over the coming years.