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Designing our products to reduce their environmental impact

In 2022, raw material extraction and product manufacturing accounted for 78.2% of our carbon footprint, which is why it is essential that we prioritise actions at this level.
Designing and manufacturing our own products presents us with the opportunity to take action in reducing our impact on the environment by carefully considering the materials and processes we use.

Reducing product environmental impact by design


The ecodesign approach

Eco-design involves taking the environment into account from the earliest stages of design and throughout the product's entire life cycle.

In practical terms, this means thinking about how to reduce the product's impact on the environment throughout its life cycle.

A product that has been designed (or redesigned) using an eco-design approach remains a product that fulfils the same function as a conventionally designed product: a running T-shirt that has benefited from an eco-design approach remains, above all, a good running T-shirt!


The AFAQ ecodesign label (AFNOR)

The AFAQ ecodesign label (AFNOR) This approach was assessed using the AFAQ ecodesign label in December 2023. The assessment provides information on the level of performance of DECATHLON's ecodesign process with a view to continuous improvement. DECATHLON has been awarded an "exemplary" rating, which is the highest level of certification.

The AFAQ Ecodesign reference system is made up of five main criteria:
- Company strategy
- Skills and techniques for ecodesign
- Operational implementation of ecodesign
- Internal and external communication
- Measurement and improvement. 

This certification attests to DECATHLON's ongoing commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its activities, with eco-design being one of the main levers for achieving this.

Illustration of a product's life cycle

A product's life cycle

This refers to all the phases through which a product will pass in the course of its life.
- its raw materials: extraction and processing
- production: manufacturing techniques
- transport: from the place of production to the place of distribution
- distribution: where and how it is sold
- its use: usage, washing and maintenance
- its end-of-life: repair, recycling, destruction

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Lifecycle analysis: how does it work?

Analysing a product's environmental footprint enables us to identify the stages in its life cycle that have the greatest impact. This approach enables design teams to develop products that reduce their environmental impact.

First, identifying solutions and
assessing environmental gains
Thanks to a network of experts in DECATHLON's various industrial processes, the design engineers identify the most appropriate solutions for a family of products (= on the stages of the life cycle with the greatest environmental impact). It is then possible to estimate the environmental benefits of these solutions (in particular using the Glimpact life cycle analysis tool). In particular, this tool enables us to carry out environmental simulations on each of our products and to imagine different alternative design scenarios.

Once the solutions have been identified, we need to make sure that there are no mandatory regulations relating to this idea, either now or in the near future. If the solution envisaged is already a legal obligation, this cannot be a differentiating criterion.

For a product to be considered, the solution chosen must be differentiating, i.e. it must not already be a standard on the market. If we take the example of cotton, the BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) label is already very widespread and can hardly be considered as an action linked to eco-design.

Evolution of communication

For many years, DECATHLON has been one of the pioneers considering the ecodesign approach (ISO: 14006) as a major axis of the strategy to reduce the environmental impact of products. DECATHLON has therefore been committed to integrating ecodesign at the heart of its product design strategy. In 2022, 23% of turnover comes from products that have benefited from an ecodesign approach.

As ecodesign is now an integral part of our product offering and becomes a market standard regulated in some countries (e.g. ESPR), DECATHLON has taken the proactive decision to update communications of its ecodesign approach by removing the associated 'Ecodesign logo’ moving to a communication without visual branding. The change is effective for all new content and is phased out for existing content.

It's because we design products that we can ecodesign them!

Going even further

In order to improve control over its raw materials and reduce its environmental footprint, DECATHLON has decided to focus its efforts in 2022 on the five families of materials with the greatest impact in terms of quantities used and CO2 emissions: metals (aluminium, steel, cast iron), textiles (natural and synthetic), paper, plastics and rubber.

For each of these materials, dedicated teams are now responsible for:
- deploying solutions and innovations,
- setting up the most appropriate partnerships,
- monitoring two performance indicators: the percentage of products incorporating eco design materials and the equivalent CO2 emissions avoided.

Our products have to meet numerous technical and quality requirements. The alternatives are not always mature technologies on the market. For example, we use organically grown cotton for some of our products, which is less productive. As a result, this type of cotton is less available on the market than conventionally grown cotton.

To know more

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The environmental assessment of our products

You may have already noticed it on our website: our products' carbon footprint is now available. We explain what it means!

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Our ecodesign approach and criteria

How do you go about eco-designing? At what stage is a product considered to be eco-designed? Discover our different approaches to ecodesign.

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Our manufacturing responsabilities

At DECATHLON, we design our products. To this end, we are also at the origin of their production. In other words, we put in place a large-scale manufacturing system to make these products available all over the world and in larger volumes. As a result of this activity, we have a responsibility: respecting the rights of the people manufacturing our products, and limiting our activity's environmental impact. These measures are put in place both globally and locally among people living in the area surrounding our production factories.


Distribution : our commitments around the world

DECATHLON is committed to reducing its environmental impact on a worldwide scale. To get there, our teams have identified two key areas: renewable energy and transport. Here are our measures and goals for the coming years