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The environmental assessment of our products

The environmental assessment is the result of a process that involves many steps: we explain the main stages of the process here.


The idea is to understand the environmental implications of producing, buying and using a product or service.

The environmental assessment takes into account various elements:
- the extraction of raw materials,
- the materials and processes used during production,
- the packaging,
- the distribution of the product, including transport,
- the use of your product (washing your sports shirt between two sessions, for example, or each time you recharge the battery of your electric bicycle),
- the fate of your product when it has reached the end of its useful life.

Environmental labelling is a way of indicating all or part of the evaluation of a product or service (yes, so far, it seems logical enough).

The environmental assessment of our products

STEP 1. The scientific framework: what is environmental assessment?

To evaluate its products, DECATHLON uses a life cycle analysis, i.e. an assessment of all the stages in the life cycle, from the extraction of the raw materials that make up the product to the end of the product's life.

Lifecycle analysis is a relatively recent subject, having emerged in the 1990s. Scientific methodologies and tools for assessing the impact of products are constantly evolving.

DECATHLON has been actively contributing to the development of these methodologies since 2007, notably through its participation in French working groups with ADEME and European working groups (PEF), aimed at specifying both the calculation methods and the databases needed to calculate a product's impact.

DECATHLON's product lifecycle analysis is based on the recommendations of the Product Environmental Footprint method, promoted by the European Commission.

The environmental assessment of our products

STEP 2. Product data: how are environmental impacts estimated?

At DECATHLON, environmental assessments are carried out during the initial development phases of a new product, from the design stage onwards. The engineers model the product's life cycle as accurately as possible, using several resources at their disposal: - product-specific data (composition, packaging, etc.); - data from environmental databases such as the French Impacts database or the European EF 3.1 database; - probable scenarios defined at company or product category level (transport, etc.).

By "probable scenarios", we mean "what happens most of the time": for example, production in Asia, which still has a high carbon content, transport by sea and washing at 30° rather than 60°.

The environmental assessment of our products

STEP 3: Modelling the product life cycle to understand its environmental impact

To model the life cycle of a product, DECATHLON follows each stage, from extraction to end of life.


🧱 Extraction/harvesting of raw materials and manufacture of components

In this stage, DECATHLON calculates the impact of the product's raw materials, taking into account their manufacturing or extraction processes. In addition, the manufacture of components is also included, taking into account the impacts of the industrial processes involved, the associated waste rates and the transport stages between factories to the finished product factory.

For example, for the manufacture of trousers, this stage takes into account the cultivation and harvesting of cotton, the industrial processes involved in transforming it into dyed fabric, material losses and transport between each of these stages.


🪡 Final product assembly

This stage consists of modelling the final assembly of the finished product. For certain types of product, such as clothing and footwear, production losses are also taken into account by the product engineer (by increasing the mass of the finished product) because they are part of the production cycle and therefore part of the impact of the product. If we take the example of trousers again, we will be talking here about emissions linked to the final assembly of the trousers, such as the energy linked to seams or the impact of fabric off-cuts.


📦 Packaging

Primary packaging (direct packaging of the product that you will have on hand in the shop) and secondary packaging (packaging used to transport and market the product, such as cardboard boxes) are taken into account when calculating the environmental impact of the product.


🚚 Distribution

Here, DECATHLON calculates the impact of transporting the product from the final assembly plant to the European distribution warehouse, taking into account various forms of transport (sea, road, air).

At present, transport between DECATHLON warehouses and shops, as well as transport from the customer to the shop, is not yet taken into account in the environmental impact of the product. The environmental impact of DECATHLON's warehouses and shops is only included in the company's environmental impact.


💦 Use

This stage consists of considering the impact of the most likely scenarios in which the product will be used by the consumer. For a textile, for example, we assess the impact of washing, drying and ironing the product, based on the care instructions on the product label. For an electronic product, we assess the total electrical energy consumed based on the power of the product in operation and switched off.


🏭 End of life

In this stage, DECATHLON applies an end-of-life scenario according to the type of product and each material it is made of, thus making it possible to model the recycling practices of the different sectors. These scenarios are defined by the European Commission as part of the PEF method, and take into account recycling, incineration and landfill rates.

At this stage, DECATHLON applies end-of-life scenarios according to the type of product and each material it is made of. These scenarios are defined by the PEF scientific method. They take into account various factors, including recycling rates and processes (grinding and melting of metal, fraying of a t-shirt into fiber and spinning, etc.), incineration and landfill.

Note: the impact of a product's end-of-life can be negative if part of it can be recycled, thus limiting the extraction of virgin raw materials.

The environmental assessment of our products

Estimated models

The environmental impacts of the product are estimates based on life cycle modelling. Current modelling does not yet take into account all the exact data for a specific product. As a result, they may sometimes be slightly overestimated or underestimated.

The environmental assessment of our products

STEP 4. Collect the results of the analysis

Once the product life cycle has been modelled, DECATHLON engineers have access to a wealth of information on the environmental impact of products.

Today, DECATHLON's design tools include :
- the PEF score, which is a score of the overall environmental impact of the product, taking into account all 16 environmental indicators of the PEF method (called the "PEF score");
- the carbon footprint, corresponding to one of the 16 environmental indicators of the PEF method, which corresponds to the impact of the product on climate change. It is calculated by measuring all greenhouse gases (nitrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, etc.).

The environmental assessment of our products

STEP 5 - Exploiting the results

These life cycle analyses enable companies to:
- identify levers for reducing the environmental impact of products
- display the results to support users
- integrate the product's environmental assessment into the company's carbon footprint

The environmental assessment of our products

Identify ways of reducing the environmental impact of products

The product lifecycle analysis enables engineers to identify the main environmental impacts and the stages in the product lifecycle that have the greatest impact. This analysis enables them to define the priority areas of work to reduce the product's impact. Thanks to the eco-design action guidelines, engineers are able to identify the levers for action that will significantly reduce the environmental impact of their product. The definition of these eco-design action guidelines is the culmination of several stages enabling us to identify actions that are adapted to each type of product but also to ensure a significant reduction in the environmental impact of our products.


Displaying results to support users

DECATHLON is convinced that consumers also have a role to play in consuming differently. That's why, in 2017, DECATHLON introduced the first voluntary environmental display schemes.

Environmental labelling involves making all or part of a product's environmental assessment available to consumers to help them make less impactful consumption choices.


Today, DECATHLON has chosen to display this "extract" from the environmental assessment of our products: the carbon footprint, which corresponds to the impact of the product on climate change. It is calculated by measuring all the greenhouse gases (nitrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, etc.) emitted by the product at every stage of its life cycle. To simplify reading this footprint, these gases and their impact are converted into equivalent kilograms. This is why we speak of Kg CO2e, the little "e" after CO2 stands for "equivalent".

The environmental assessment of our products

Integrating the environmental assessment of the product into the company's carbon footprint

Calculating the company's carbon trajectory involves calculating the impact of products (raw materials, production, use and end of life), their transport and the impacts associated with the sites operated by DECATHLON (shops, warehouses, production offices and brand sites).

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