The initiative is part of the European Climate Pact which was launched on 16 December. It is also the first initiative to be launched in the framework of the New Consumer Agenda announced in November 2020. The new agenda intends to strengthen “consumer resilience for sustainable recovery” by ensuring there are more sustainable products designed in a environmentally friendly way.

According to EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, who officially launched the initiative on Monday, it should “enable consumers to make environmentally friendly choices”. The initiative would respond to “the need for greater transparency regarding the carbon footprint of companies and the sustainability of their products” for consumers.

Participating companies will have to commit to calculating their overall carbon footprint as well as that of their flagship products. They will also have to increase sales of sustainable products and services, promote sustainable practices, and provide easier access to information on consumer issues related to the carbon footprints of products.

Fewer emissions, more eco-design

As one of the first five companies to sign the initiative, global sporting goods business Decathlon published on Monday a series of commitments drawn up with the Commission for a sustainable transition.

“Every day at Decathlon, we produce waste and use the planet’s resources,” said Isabelle Guyader, head of the company’s sustainability programme. “We have an impact, so we act,” she added.

With the aim of ensuring its own sustainable transition, Decathlon stated that by 2026 it wants to reduce its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 75% compared to 2016. Again by 2026, the company has also committed to only using renewable energy sources in its energy mix.

Since Decathlon’s products account for 80% of the company’s overall carbon emissions according to the press release, the sporting goods retailer plans to reduce its emissions by 40% per product sold by 2026 and to increase the share of eco-designed products to 30% by 2022 and to 100% by 2026.

The company also plans to spend €3 million on a media campaign to promote the ideas of repairability, eco-design, and second-hand products. On its website, Decathlon will also publish information regarding its annual carbon footprint and its concrete actions linked to sustainable transition.

Pilot phase until January 2022

The green consumption commitment initiative has started its pilot phase. Initially limited to one year, it will be evaluated at the beginning of 2022 in consultation with participating companies and consumer organisations in order to define what further steps need to be taken.

Any business wishing to take part in the initiative can notify the European Commission before the end of March 2021.