Whether we’re supplying energy to our stores and warehouses, or transporting our products from their manufacturing location to your home, everything we do has an impact on the environment. That’s why we decided to make changes. To reduce the impact our business has on the environment, we have chosen to make a transition towards renewable energy, and take action on transport.
In September 2018, Decathlon joined the RE100, a global initiative led by The Climate Group, who are bringing together the world’s most influential businesses, and driving the transition to renewable electricity. We have therefore committed to sourcing 100% of our electricity from renewable energy. This ‘greener’ energy will be used across all Decathlon’s commercial and logistics sites and operations, all around the world, by 2026.
Why is achieving sustainable energy important?
Sustainable energy is good for people and the planet. But what exactly is it, and why is it so important?
Energy is considered sustainable if it meets the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of future generations. Renewable energy - such as wind, solar, hydroelectric power, and geothermal energy, is energy derived from natural resources. They are generally far more sustainable than fossil fuels - such as coal and crude oil, which will eventually run out if we keep extracting them as they do not replenish as quickly as we humans use them. Renewable energy resources, on the other hand, replenish themselves in less than a human lifetime without depleting the planet’s resources. In fact, they are virtually inexhaustible, and they cause little climate or environmental damage. This is why Decathlon, and other businesses are making the necessary switch to renewable energy.
Unfortunately, there are many fashion and sports brands who are still more concerned about profit than our planet. Fast fashion brands give us the chance to get our hands on the latest catwalk trends and high-fashion designs quickly, and at super low prices. And although it might be good news for the consumer's pocket, it comes at a cost to our planet. Because this clothing is cheap and tends to be of poorer quality, we’re discarding our clothing after only a few wears in many cases, with much of it ending up in landfill. In fact, around 1 million tons of clothing is thrown out every year in the UK. Of that, 700,000 tonnes is collected for reuse and recycling, with the remainder sent to landfills or incinerated, at an estimated cost of £82m. When waste products are buried in landfills or burnt, carbon dioxide and other harmful gases are released into the atmosphere, which ultimately leads to global warming. Not to mention the ever-increasing size of landfills, taking up valuable land which could be used for more important purposes.
We need brands to do more, and there are great brands that are doing more! Over 300 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go '100% renewable'. Read about the actions they are taking and why.
We want to generate our own renewable energy, where possible, by producing solar panel powered energy on our sites. Where we’re not able to install solar panels for whatever reason, we will buy renewable energy through purchase agreements with certificates of origin to ensure it meets Decathlon’s sustainability requirements. Currently, we have 35 energy managers distributed in different countries around the world working to achieve this objective.
Did you know that the energy the sun provides to the earth in one hour could meet the global energy needs for one year? So there’s no doubt installing solar panels can make a significant difference to our planet. Among all the benefits of solar panels, the most important thing is that solar energy is a truly renewable energy source. It can be harnessed in all areas of the world and is available every day. And we cannot run out of solar energy, unlike some of the other sources of energy.
How will Decathlon reach the 100% renewable energy goal?
As a designer and distributor of sports products, it’s our responsibility to reduce our own CO2 emissions in order to help the world become carbon neutral by 2050. By 2026, Decathlon has committed to reducing its carbon intensity by 40%. This is as well as transitioning to 100% renewable electricity by 2026. Here’s an outline of our commitments which will help achieve these objectives:
Strategy & 2026 Commitments
We work with our key suppliers to ensure that they are autonomous
in terms of monitoring their carbon emissions
So that by 2026 90% of our purchasing volumes are produced from suppliers
autonomously managing their CO2e emissions.
We urge our key suppliers to use scientific bases to define their own CO2e emission
reduction trajectories by the end of 2024.
So that by 2026 90% of our purchasing volumes are produced from suppliers
who have defined their CO2e objectives in line with the SBTi criteria.
We are encouraging our key suppliers to be consuming only renewable electricity in five years time.
So that by 2026 90% of our purchase volumes will be produced from suppliers who only use renewable electricity.
We support our suppliers and help them to draw up energy efficiency action plans.
So that by 2026 90% of our purchase volumes are produced from suppliers
who have an energy efficiency strategy.
By 2025, we will have stopped the use of carbon onsite at our level 1 suppliers, as well as renewed any facilities requiring carbon combustions at our level 2 suppliers.
So that by 2026 we have 0 carbon consumption at our level 1 suppliers.
We are reducing the impact of international transport for our products by limiting the use of air freight and travel to strict necessity.
So that by 2026 <1% of our products are transported by air.
Decathlon is striving to become a more sustainable sports brand, which is why we joined the RE100 global initiative in 2018. Led by the Climate Group and in partnership with CDP, their mission is to accelerate the shift to a low carbon economy. They partner with select organisations in key growth geographies to grow the membership and drive market change. They provide companies with access to peer-learning, policy support, and local market insight.
The RE100, along with Decathlon’s own 35 energy managers that have been appointed in different countries around the world will help us to achieve our objective of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2026. 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.
As well as renewable energy, Decathlon is also looking to more renewable transport solutions.
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. Though, this hasn't prevented us from taking some important measures, and setting some ambitious targets when it comes to how our products are transported across the world.
Our first goal is that less than 1% of our products are transported by air by 2026. It’s an ambitious target, but we believe we can achieve it! Before 2018, around 6% of our products were transported by air, and today we’re at 3.2%. To continue making progress in order to reach our goal, we have to understand why we still use air transport in certain circumstances, and especially how and what we are going to replace it with.
We know that air freight has a very high carbon footprint. And to highlight this, and any other related issues, we have implemented weekly monitoring in order to make our teammates aware of the importance of choosing other modes of transport where possible.
To date, we've already identified three other 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.
- Handling: Air transport involves unloading a considerable amount of stock and scores of pallets, taking up a lot of space - and it’s not always possible to process them quickly. 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.
What other modes of transport can Decathlon use to reduce its carbon footprint?
Our teams are currently right in the midst of analysing how the transport we use impacts the environment. All modes of road, rail, sea, and air transports are being 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.
Switching from air freight to transporting by rail in some areas is one change Decathlon can make. This is possible thanks to railway lines connecting France to Germany, Russia and China, for example.
We also know we need to make changes to reduce our carbon footprint on the road, and we have undertaken initial measures to help us achieve this. 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 vehicles, where possible (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. And our aim is to achieve 35% “clean kilometres” in 2021, 50% in 2022, and 75% in 2023.
What is the worldwide RE100 initiative?
RE100 is the global corporate renewable energy initiative, bringing together 144 of the world’s most influential large and ambitious businesses, all committed to 100% renewable electricity. Led by the Climate Group and in partnership with CDP, their mission is to accelerate the shift to a low carbon economy.
Their members have operations all over the world, and in a wide range of industries, including: telecommunications, retail, and manufacturing. Since RE100 was launched at Climate Week NYC 2014, the initiative has expanded across Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific, and they are currently seeing rapid growth in Japan.
They partner with select organisations in key growth geographies to grow the membership and drive market change. The RE100 initiative provides companies with access to peer-learning, policy support, and local market insight to help achieve their objectives.
To achieve zero carbon electricity grids by 2040, companies need to be able to source 100% renewable electricity at reasonable cost. So the RE100 initiative is looking at the barriers preventing companies from sourcing renewables by:
- Advocating for change at a global level. Their six policy measures support corporate sourcing of renewable electricity globally, according to RE100 member companies.
- Advocating for change at a local level. They are working with their partners and members to leverage corporate commitment and influence policies in markets with little or no access to renewable electricity.
Interested in finding out more? Take a look at the RE100 initiative website.
We, at Decathlon, have set ourselves some ambitious targets when it comes to the impact our business has on the environment. Our overall goal is to reach 100% renewable energy by 2026, and our 35 energy managers have been put in place in different countries around the world to make this happen through the use of solar panels on our sites, and buying renewable energy.
We have also set ourselves the goal of using air transport for less than 1% of our products by 2016, and we have already made progress in this area. Before 2018, around 6% of our products were transported by air, and today we’re at 3.2%. We have a long way to go, but we’re continuously looking at other modes of transport, including rail, to help us achieve this ambitious target. And when it comes to transport by road, our teams are being encouraged to adopt the ‘clean kilometres’ by using natural gas, vegetable-based oil and electric vehicles. We have already seen an improvement in this area, and at the start of 2020, 25% of our kilometres were “more sustainable” thanks to our negotiations.
Want to look deeper into what Decathlon are doing to become a more sustainable sports brand? Feel free to take a look at our Non-Financial Reporting Statement for more in-depth information. It's an inventory, published each year, of all the initiatives that are leading to sustainable progress.