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How can retail adapt to the climate challenges of tomorrow?

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The latest IPCC report published last August is extremely alarming. It leaves little doubt that the coming environmental crises are increasingly devastating. The consumer world will then have to make much more profound changes than those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic! It is the entire value chain of the world of commerce that must, as of now, define the models of a commerce that responds to the environmental, societal and ethical challenges of tomorrow.

Rethinking product design

Meet Lia

This is what Meet Lia offers, which sells pregnancy tests in the United States, the product has been completely redesigned to remove any plastic from its design. In the end, the device is made from paper, can be thrown in the toilet and is 100% biodegradable in less than 10 weeks.

If this seems anecdotal, you should know that the plastic of pregnancy tests generates each year a thousand tons of non-recyclable plastic on the American territory.


Rethinking the design of its products also means anticipating and imagining their second and even third potential life.

Extend the life of products

The products can also have a second or even a third life after their first function. This is what the French DIY brand Castorama has implemented for a few years with eco-designed Métisse insulation. It recovers old clothes, such as jeans, to transform them into thermal or sound insulation. In 2019, 228 tonnes of clothing were collected from stores to then be transformed into eco-designed insulation.
The objective for 2021 is to collect 240 tonnes thanks to its partnership with Le Relais, a French specialist in clothing collection.

Rethinking its logistics

Whether it is Pic-Nic with its logic of delivery in an electric vehicle or the use of multi-use and recyclable packaging for purchases made online. This is what Hipli, The Box and Re-Pack offer, the world of e-commerce is also rethinking its logistics. Recently, 15 French e-commerce players, including Cdiscount, Veepee, Fnac-Darty, La Redoute, Maisons du Monde, etc. agreed to reduce their delivery packaging by 75%, to favor low-carbon delivery, to raise awareness consumers on the origin of products, …

Become a societal actor

Ikea has taken the concept even further by working on the eco-responsible city of tomorrow, in partnership with the Swedish municipality of Helsingborg. The brand will work there with local authorities and residents to rethink the food supply around urban farms, but also on the construction of ecological houses.

Raise awareness among consumers

This is the position taken by a brand like Decathlon with its new loyalty program, Decat’Club, which focuses on sports and positive actions for the environment. Decat’Club members will be able to accumulate additional loyalty points by carrying out eco-responsible activities offered by stores, by purchasing eco-designed products or by practicing physical activity.



For its part, Carrefour has embarked on Fortnite with the Healthy Map to educate young people about eating well and consuming more eco-responsible food products.

At Fnac-Darty, customers are pushed towards repairable and durable products thanks to a scoring derived from data from the brand’s after-sales service. According to the brand, products that do not meet sustainability criteria could even be withdrawn from sale.

Towards a new economic model

The commercial rental model has existed for many years and more particularly for DIY or household appliances. At Fnac-Darty, the subscription is already part of the economic model with Darty Max. Darty Max offers a subscription to the repair of household appliances for € 9.90 per month. The program targets 2 million subscribers by 2025.



The fashion world is also getting there from Ralph Lauren to Kiabi. The French brand now offers maternity clothing rentals with offers ranging from € 9 to € 29 per month. These economic models around rental or subscription will certainly allow the emergence of new players.





While the Decathlon subscription offer in Belgium has caused a lot of talk, a start-up has decided to embark on the rental of sports equipment between individuals. This is Trippez, which offers individuals to rent their tent, their skis or even their surfboard. It should be noted that a tent canvas is used on average only 7 days a year and therefore the rest of the time it sleeps quietly in the garage.




The consumers of tomorrow seem ready for these new models: 90% of GenZs expect companies to invest in fighting global warming and fighting social injustices. However, the traditional players in trade will need a great deal of flexibility to meet the expectations of eco-responsible trade. This new trade favors the arrival of new entrants. Where historic brands have to rethink themselves from A to Z, new players and in particular Direct To Consumer or C2C marketplaces can build their value chain with the circular economy as their DNA.

As an expert in emerging technologies, Nicolas travels to innovation shows around the world to spot and analyse the new trends.
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