"61% of consumers trust brands and businesses more than government to address environmental issues"

It was during a conference on the different ways to bring a brand to life in the era of transition that Alice Vachet, creator of the Empreinte podcast, welcomed Laetitia Cousi, Jean-Philippe Sloves and Michael Rogué. Alice Vachet listens and asks questions to an attentive audience. A fruitful Q&A session with the audience followed.

211201 keynote comAlice Vachet is the creator of the podcast l'Empreinte (number 1 in France on CSR topics). Laetitia Cousi has been CSR Manager France at Dell Techonlogies since 2015. Jean-Philippe Sloves accompanies the transformation of La Redoute as Director of Corporate Communications and CSR since 2014. Finally, Michael Rogué is Planet Leader at Boulanger. After 15 years in digital transformation, he decided to devote himself to the ecological transition out of conviction.

An honest communication

One of the first points raised by Laetitia Cousi during the first exchanges was transparency. According to her, this is the best way to make consumers aware of the ecological transition. "We have to be sincere and involved and launch actions that will have an international as well as a local impact": transparency and sincerity are key in the approach of actions and results. Transparent communication is very important at Dell to help, in particular, companies and individuals recycle their end-of-life equipment.

One of the main objectives of La Redoute is to encourage families to be responsible consumers. This involves displaying products and a certain amount of data. La Redoute is working internally to collect and make available a certain amount of information concerning the environmental impact of its products. Additionally, Jean-Philippe Sloves expresses the desire to include a CSR component in all companies and to make this measure dynamic. "This carbon neutrality will have to be justified and proven".

Michael Rogué talks about the importance of looking at the entire value chain when doing a carbon footprint and going as far as Scop3 (looking both upstream and downstream of the value chain, from manufacturing to consumption). He explains the importance of informing consumers about the product they are buying. He uses the example of a laptop: where the consumer has the impression that the waste is simply the cardboard box, there is however a multitude of invisible waste. Indeed, producing a laptop computer requires 250kg of oil, about thirty metals that are becoming scarce, a ton of water, a ton of waste but also CO2 during use.

Involving stakeholders

All of the speakers emphasized the importance of cooperation and collective action in energy transformation. According to Laetitia Cousi, the main issues are related to eco-design: Dell innovated programs very early on (use of closed loop plastic), reuses carbon fiber from the space sector (for computer shells in particular) and, more recently, recycles rare metals and aluminum. All these actions are carried out in partnership with others: "It is by joining forces with other companies that we will be able to have a stronger impact on environmental aspects.

According to Jean-Philippe Sloves, the issue affects both products and consumers. At La Redoute, all unsold products are donated to associations, the 'zero plastic' objective will be reached in 2030 and from next year, the smallest plastic packaging will be replaced by kraft paper. Nevertheless, this cannot be done alone. La Redoute needs the commitment of its employees, suppliers and a number of partners. Jean-Philippe Sloves explains that "at La Redoute, we believe that CSR is a matter of stakeholder engagement and communication plays a big role in this".

Michael Rogué explains several initiatives carried out at Boulanger: an ecological transformation plan on direct emissions, the greening of means of transport, and the reduction of energy consumption in the stores. Boulanger is also looking after indirect emissions from the brands distributed in its stores, calling on them to adopt eco-design. This calls for cooperation: "We work hand in hand with the brands to eco-select the most responsible products". Boulanger suggests a relocation of know-how, an acceleration of sustainable services but also the best possible end of life for products. "Every citizen of the world and of an industrialized and developed country such as France is going to have to adopt a more responsible lifestyle," says Michael Rogué.

Taking the time

Laetitia Cousi regrets a rush. She explains that everyone is trying to act, which is a good thing, but the actions should be more prepared. Moreover, we cannot have a zero carbon footprint product: "We will not avoid carbon compensation". Sometimes it is not possible. The challenge is therefore to go for maximum reduction and minimum compensation.

According to Jean-Philippe Sloves, we can't switch to eco-design overnight. The transition is gradual: it takes place through the choice of materials, on-demand production, and recycled or upcycled collections. "We will never achieve zero emissions": we must return to a level of human activity that is bearable for the planet. The calculation is new for companies. La Redoute is still innovating, the company is investing internally to recover data but it takes time. As an example, for the sustainable wood labels, a full-time person is needed to collect the data.

For Michael Rogué: "the further we go, the more we realize that we have to dig. The climate transition takes time. He explains that each stage of the product's life cycle must be analyzed and measured in detail. This takes a lot of time and energy because, to really see the difference in carbon impact, you have to go into each product. But despite this complexity and urgency, it's very important to do it to measure. "We must all, on a global level, work together towards carbon neutrality".