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Pollution and use of water resources

Fighting pollution and reducing water consumption

Since the start of 2022, two more planetary boundaries have been exceeded: global chemical pollution (microplastics, solvents, etc.) and the freshwater cycle. Given this alarming observation, DECATHLON continues to help its suppliers implement practices that will have less of an impact on the environment by working on resource use and the industrial pollution of water, soil and air. In its own activities, the company is also working to reduce its use of plastics and has committed to using in its packaging by 20263.

Use of water resources: 2023 highlights

86.7 % of concerned sites for Rank 1 and Rank 2 suppliers were rated A, B or C for their environmental management at the end of 2023, up 4% over 2022.

DECATHLON reached maturity level 2 under the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation classification (three levels) for its own chemical risk management.

DECATHLON continued modelling work to define a trajectory allowing it to reduce its plastic footprint so that it can keep its activities within planetary boundaries.

At the same time, the company also worked on reducing its use of single-use plastics by either phasing them out of packaging or recycling them.
DECATHLON added new questions to its environmental audit grid in order to improve its water management in production.

Measuring and reducing water consumption

According to the latest report from the World Resources Institute*, one-quarter of the world’s population is now exposed to extremely high levels of water stress every year, and 50% of the population is affected for at least one month per year.

Suppliers need to use large volumes of water to manufacture DECATHLON items, and especially its textile products.
This means that DECATHLONs business can impact the availability of resources, which is why it is essential that the company support suppliers in improving their water management.

Water shortages could also impact the company financially, which is why DECATHLON is working to set up adaptation
actions for its priority climate risks.
These include rising prices and a scarcity of raw materials due to the impact of water stress, as well as production interruptions due to water shortages or poor water quality.

To reduce its vulnerability in the supply chain and limit its impact on the environment, DECAHTLON has been carrying out various actions with its suppliers since 2021, including the Sustainable Textile Processing project with its 30 suppliers consuming the most energy, water and chemicals.
This project eliminated the consumption of 300,000 m3 of water in 2023 (compared with 240,000 m3 in 2022).

This year, DECATHLON also inventoried water use at production sites through new questions in its audit grid. By collecting this data from suppliers, Decathlon is able to better understand how water is being managed throughout its network. The following are measured:
- Water consumption for domestic use
- Water consumption for industrial purposes
- Recycled water quantities

*World Resources Institute, “Aqueduct 4.0: Updated Decision-Relevant Global Water Risk Indicators“, 16 August 2023,
https://www.wri.org/research/aqueduct-40-updated-decision-relevant-global-water-risk-indicators.

The Sustainable Textile Processing project

In 2021, a team of DECATHLON method engineers launched the Sustainable Textile Processing project to assist the 30 production sites that consume the most energy, water and chemicals (25 in 2022).

Through this project, work is done on the supplier’s machines to optimise processes, and reduce water consumption and energy losses. Several highlights can be noted for 2023:
- Actions continue to improve dyeing processes for conventional polyester and cotton at seven suppliers representing 20% of DECATHLON’s textile purchase volumes, through experiments with new machines and technologies to reduce water consumption (salt-free dyeing that greatly reduces energy consumption during water treatment, supercritical CO2 dyeing (high pressure gas), tests on direct dye spraying on fabrics, ultrasonic washing, etc.)

- Meters are gradually being installed on machines of certain production lines to accurately measure water and energy consumption at every stage of the manufacturing process.

These meters were installed at fifteen production sites in 2023 (five in 2022), and have already improved the reliability of environmental data and the sites’ ability to take appropriate improvement actions in a virtuous cycle logic

- ECODYE internal certification was launched, including four criteria: water consumption, energy consumption, CO2 emissions and water recycling. Thanks to the measurements taken by the meters mentioned above, it is now possible to refine the thresholds for evaluating and selecting suppliers.
This year, the first ECODYE referenced DECATHLON is continuing its efforts to define certification criteria for all product families

In 2023, DECATHLON estimated that these actions avoided the emission of 30,000 tCO2e43 (45,000 tCO2e44 in 2022) and the consumption of 300,000 m3 of water (240,000 m3 in 2022), i.e. 2% of the impact of the company’s textile activity.

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