Decathlon, the sports giant has a sense of eco-responsible innovation
The Decathlon adventure began in 1976 in the suburbs of Lille. It was then the first-ever large area of self-service sporting and leisure items. Years later, the brand became a leader in the sports market. It thus brings together two sectors of activity: the creation of products dedicated to the practice of sport and their distribution. What forges the brand’s identity is the ambition to innovate. Indeed, innovation has always been present in its values. By innovating on a daily basis, the brand has been able to impose itself among all sportsmen and women by becoming a true partner.
Innovation at the heart of Decathlon’s product strategy
Innovation is therefore the key factor of success that has brought Decathlon to its current position as a leader in the sports market. This desire to innovate has always been a core value for the brand. However, it took on a more concrete dimension with the arrival of the brand’s brands in the 1990s. Through these brands, which we all know well, the brand expresses itself, whether in terms of design, research and development or new technologies. During the creative process each product is studied to become the astute, practical and singular product.
The Decathlon recipe is a winner as the brand prides itself on flagship products anchored as a reference in the collective spirit of consumers. One thinks in particular of the “Two Seconds” Tent Quechua, a real revolution in camping tent, it was the first tent that rises in 2 seconds thanks to its clever structure. More recently, we have seen the emergence of a product that has been a huge success, Easybreath. It is the first Snorkeling Facial Mask in the world that allows you to see and breathe in the water as on earth!. (1)
Behind this desire for innovation, there is a desire to give everyone access to sport. By placing proximity to users as the main source of inspiration, the brand can create more than 2,800 products on average per year. Thus the brand offers products designed for sportsmen, innovative, and above all accessible in terms of budget. Moreover, thanks to the opinions, Decathlon never stays on the gains. The brand wants to evolve its products over time, there is no end to the innovation process. It thus integrates a dimension of improvement and durability into its products, while opting for renewable and less polluting materials for example. This is how the brand wants to be part of the new wave of Ecodesign.
Innovating for the environment
Thus, in its approach to innovation, Decathlon integrates the environmental dimension. It is true that nature is the main gym of all sportsmen, be it hikers, divers, runners, cyclists or so many others. The preservation of the environment is therefore an even more important issue for athletes. The sign understood this. Thus, she wants to adapt her production to meet these new challenges, she speaks then of eco conception. That’s how the Quechua brand is committed to reducing its environmental impact. As a result, it now has more than 60 products that benefit from this eco-design approach. One thinks in particular of tents that are fully repairable. By 2026, it wants to see its catalogue made up of 100% eco-designed products. (3)
Beyond its internal commitments, Decathlon goes further to support its commitment to the environmental cause. This is how we saw the latter join the initiative “Companies committed to nature”. This initiative of the French government, which brought together 38 companies, aims to integrate a programme of continuous improvement in favour of the preservation of biodiversity through a dozen principles. We can name two. Firstly, the awareness and training of employees about biodiversity and its relationship with their trades. Then the integration of biodiversity into dialogues with public authorities.
We also see the brand carry out actions through its brands. This is particularly the case of the Quechua brand, which organized the #GREENHIKER, a voluntary clean-up of the trails. Indeed, on the occasion of world Clean up Day on September 19th, all the stores organized a garbage collection! This was an opportunity to play sports by making a gesture for the planet! (4) We remember in particular the eco-rando of 6 kilometers organized by the Decathlon of the Teste de Buch in May 2019 in order to clean nature while walking.
Decathlon has kept its desire to innovate and take risks to offer new products to all athletes over time. The brand has never been based on achievements as shown by its desire to evolve its products over time. Today it is faced with a new issue, the environmental issue. The brand is committed to this and puts all its ingenuity at the service of the environment.