Companies join forces with the European Commission to promote green consumption

Written on 2 Jul 2021

What Context?

On 13 November 2020, the European Commission launched the "New Consumer Agenda", which aims to enable consumers to become actors in the ecological transition.

As the transition plan is intended to offer consumers better guarantees of product durability, to strengthen their protection in the digital environment and to protect the most vulnerable, the Commission has taken the view that this transition cannot be achieved without businesses. It has therefore proposed that voluntary companies make commitments with the Commission that go beyond what is provided for in the applicable law.

What is the timetable?

The Green Consumption Pledge initiative was launched on 25 January 2021, starting with a pilot phase.
This pilot phase will end in January 2022 and will be followed by an evaluation of the initiative, in consultation with the participating companies and other stakeholders, such as consumer associations.

New measures can then be adopted.

Which companies?

Any business in the non-food or retail sector selling both food and non-food products can participate in the initiative by contacting the European Commission before the end of March 2021.
There are currently 11 participating companies, including the Colruyt Group (distribution via a chain of supermarkets), Decathlon (manufacture and distribution of sports goods), the LEGO Group (production and distribution of Lego toys), L'Oréal (producer and distributor of cosmetics) or Renewd (reconditioner of Apple products).

What commitments?

The Green Consumption Pledge Initiative is based on a set of five core commitments. Participating companies must take concrete action on at least three of the five commitments, and must demonstrate this through publicly available data.
Here are some examples of commitments.

 

The 5 areas of commitment The commitments made by the participating companies. Details of each company's commitments are available here.
1 - Determine the company's carbon footprint, including the supply chain, using the calculation method or environmental management system developed by the Commission, and develop appropriate due diligence procedures to achieve carbon footprint reductions, in line with the Paris Agreement objectives. The Colruyt Group, Decathlon, the LEGO Group and L'Oréal have all made commitments on this subject:

  • Calculation of the carbon footprint: the Colruyt Group has for example committed to calculate its footprint every 2 years, starting in 2021.
  • Achieving carbon neutrality: L'Oréal is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2025 for all its operational sites and LEGO by 2022.
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions: the Colruyt Group has committed to reducing its direct and indirect CO2 emissions from electricity purchases by 40% by 2030 (compared to 2008). Decathlon has also committed to a 40% reduction between 2016 and 2026 for all its direct and indirect emissions, and the LEGO Group to a 37% reduction by 2032.
  • Increase in the use of renewable energy: 40% increase for Decathlon between 2016 and 2026.
  • Other commitments: energy recovery from air conditioning systems for use as heating by the Colruyt Group, accelerated research and development for the creation of sustainable products and packaging for the LEGO Group.
2 - Determine the carbon footprint of some of the company's flagship products, using the methodology developed by the Commission, achieve reductions in the carbon footprint of these products and inform the public of the progress made.

Decathlon, L'Oréal and Renewd have all made commitments on this subject.

Decathlon, for example, has committed to assessing the carbon footprint of all its internal production by 2022, and the footprint of all the products it distributes by 2026. L'Oréal has announced that it will extend its programme to at least one product category per year, and has already started with the shampoo category. Renewd has announced that it will calculate the carbon footprint of all its second-hand products compared to new products by 2021, and reduce the footprint by 20% by 2023.

3 - Increase the share of sales of sustainable products or services in the total sales of the company or type of activity chosen. Decathlon and Renewd have made commitments to this end. Decathlon has committed that 30% of its internal production (compared to 5% today) will be eco-designed by 2022, before reaching 100% by 2026.
4 - Dedicate part of the company's public relations expenditure to the promotion of sustainable practices, in line with the Commission's implementation of the policies and actions of the Green Pact for Europe. The Colruyt Group, Decathlon, the LEGO Group and Renewd have all made commitments on this subject. The LEGO Group has chosen to focus its communication on raising awareness among young people. The Colruyt Group has indicated that 50% of its communication actions will focus on promoting sustainable practices, while Decathlon has announced a €3M campaign for France in 2021 (which will then be extended to other member states) and Renewd a €50,000 campaign in 2021.
5 - Ensure that consumer information on the carbon footprints of the company and its products is easily accessible, accurate and clear, and keep this information up to date after any further reduction or increase in the footprint. All the participating companies have committed themselves to this topic, either by making information available on their websites or in reports.