SUSTAINABILITY AT A MULTINATIONAL COMPANY
INTERVIEW WITH THE COMMUNICATION LEADER OF DECATHLON SUSTAINABILITY
In 2016 Decathlon set their vision for 2026. Decathlon’s mission is to create, produce and sell sport equipment and make it accessible to the many. Most of this equipment will be used outdoors, in nature. Therefore, they feel it is their responsibility to take care of the planet and people so the current and future generations can keep enjoying their playground.
Sharing is caring
On their YouTube channel (Decathlon Sustainability) you can find movies introducing their free repair service, their vision for 2026 and how they get the most out of outdated stock. They also share lectures from events on sustainability, responsibility and transparency.
Run the Talk
On February 11, 2018, the MUD Jeans team ran a half marathon. For which we got all geared up in personalised MUD gear by Decathlon. This gave us the opportunity to interview the communication leader of Decathlon Sustainability, Charles Felgate. We were curious about a multinational’s view on sustainability. We asked him some questions and are excited to share his interesting answers with you & of course some picture of our team rocking the gear at the Groet uit Schoorl half marathon.
Do you feel there is awareness amongst your customers with regards to the efforts you make towards sustainability?
Awareness is definitely growing amongst customers although it doesn’t yet appear to be mainstream. However, awareness amongst our team mates is growing at a faster rate and that is of extreme importance for us. We want our staff to be proud of what we are doing in terms of sustainability. Our communications strategy is to raise awareness to incite our team mates to act.
We are curious, what is the most exciting project you are currently working on?
That’s a tough one, as there is so much going on right now! Our environmental labelling, sustainable cotton and 100% renewable energy projects are pretty hot topics right now, but I would say the biggest project is our Materiality Survey. In short, this is an extensive survey where we map what is important for our stakeholders and what is important for Decathlon in terms of sustainability. The result will be the foundation for our next Sustainability policy for 2019.
How do you keep everyone on the same page across the globe?
We have one single Sustainability policy for the entire company where we outline our main commitments, engagements and actions. Each country (we are currently present in 39 retail countries and 16 others for production), must adopt and then adapt the policy considering its own activity. Global strategy, local actions. Not all countries are at the same speed and it’s important to acknowledge and accept that.
Something we often struggle with ourselves. How do you prioritise projects?
This is where the Materiality survey comes into play. By mapping what’s important for us and for our stakeholders, the priorities become more obvious. The problem that all companies are faced with is that everything seems to be important. Always start by having a clear understanding of your impact on the planet and the people.
What would be your main advice to other multinationals who want to become more sustainable?
Truly know your impact on the environment and society. Make Sustainability everyone’s business – integrate it everywhere. Go at your own pace – Sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up 😉