Transporting our products from their manufacturing location to your home, supplying energy to our stores or warehouses: all our activities have an impact on the environment. To reduce it, we have chosen to develop the use of renewable energies and take action on transport.
It was necessary to make a transition towards renewable energy, to reduce our buildings' environmental impact. In September 2018, we subsequently joined the worldwide RE100 initiative. We have committed to sourcing 100% of our electricity from renewable energy by 2026. A measure that will apply to all our commercial and logistics sites around the world.
The idea is to produce solar panel powered energy on our sites, where possible, or to buy renewable energy through purchase agreements with certificates of origin.
Currently, 35 energy managers distributed in different countries are mobilized to achieve this objective.
In a product's life cycle, transport is not the most polluting stage. We have subsequently chosen to concentrate our efforts, as a priority, on our product design and manufacturing to reduce our carbon footprint.
This hasn't prevented us from taking measures relating to the transport part.
Our teams are currently right in the midst of analysing our environmental impact on this topic. We didn't have any formal data up until now, so it's a huge undertaking that is in the process of being done. All modes of road, rail, sea and air transports are examined in detail. The purpose of this project is to perform a worldwide assessment, allowing us to precisely identify the areas for improvements and set ourselves goals for the years to come.
Our goal is that the air transport mode represents less than 1% of our products' transport by 2026. An ambitious target, but achievable given the numbers over the last years. And our motivation!
Before 2018, we resorted to air transport up to 6%. It's share today is only 4%. To continue making progress in this direction, you have to understand why we still use air transport in certain circumstances. And especially how and what we are going to replace it by.
We know that air transport has a very high carbon footprint. But it is not it's only failing. There are also plenty of negative impacts on logistics. To highlight these and involve our teams, we have implemented weekly monitoring. We aim to make our teammates aware of the necessity, at all times, to make other modes of transport their first choice.
To date, we've already identified three negative consequences of air transport: the cost, handling and stock.
- The cost: air transport has a negative impact on our productivity because receiving stock in the warehouse requires an extra teammate than usual.
- Handling: Air transport involves unloading a considerable amount of stock and scores of pallets, taking up a lot of space, are not always quickly processed. As a result, this extends the warehouse operator's path, making them lose time.
- Stock: the pallets, not immediately picked, take up space to the detriment of other products. Their presence therefore needlessly increases stock levels.
So what are the alternatives?
Transferring from air flows to rail flows. An option already made possible with railway lines connecting France to Germany, Russia and China, for example.
Even if we are just at the beginning of a vast work in progress project, we have already undertaken initial measures to reduce our carbon footprint on the road part.
We have included carbon valuation in Euros in our negotiations for transport between our different warehouses and stores. The idea is to persuade our teams to use “clean kilometres”. It means using natural gas, vegetable-based oil and electric first (for big conurbations) rather than diesel.
We have already noticed an improvement for road transport between our Regional Supply Chain Centres and our Continental Supply Chain Centres. At the start of 2020, 25% of our kilometres were “more sustainable” thanks to our negotiations. On the trajectory side, we aim to achieve 35% of “clean kilometres” in 2021, 50% in 2022 and 75% in 2023.
Lastly, we are working on translating our transport indicators into C02 impact, for greater transparency and making them more concrete.
We believe in the principle of subsidiarity because every region has their own specific challenges and issues. It means the decisions should be taken as closely as possible to where they have an impact. We are more involved in our decision making, and that makes our measures relevant to everyone's needs. As a result, each country then decides on measures that they want to conduct locally.
We want you to understand our way of operating but it's not easy trying to get the balance right between keeping explanations simple and wanting to explain everything in detail. If you want to find out more, feel free to take a look at our Non-Financial Reporting Statement. It's an inventory, published each year, of all the initiatives that are leading to sustainable progress.