We are launching our all-new Expertise Unplugged series which shares insights from the industry experts who associate with and support Vaayu. This in-depth and comprehensive knowledge base is a crucial aspect of what we do and helps Vaayu support many brands and retailers on their individual decarbonization journeys.
In episode #1, our CEO and Co-Founder Namrata Sandhu sat down with Baptiste Carrière-Pradal to discuss the changing European legislation and how it has the potential to impact Vaayu’s customer base.
Watch Expertise Unplugged #1: European Legislation with Baptiste Carrière-Pradal
Baptiste helps facilitate the development of a standard technique to quantify the environmental effect of clothing and footwear. He has in-depth experience across the fashion industry and impressive expertise around the regulations relating to it.
Over his career of more than 20 years, he worked at Decathlon supporting manufacturers in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia on their journey to sustainability during his time before founding and overseeing the retailer's first sustainability department. He also joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to launch their European Office, leading transparency and policy activities, before launching a new industry platform alongside Bente Bauer in 2019. The platform, the Policy Hub, delivers a united voice to support the ongoing impactful regulations that accelerate the transition to circularity. Baptiste also co-chairs the technical secretariat of the EU Product Environmental Footprint project, amongst other endeavors.
With Vaayu, Baptiste has long served as an independent strategic expert on EU policy, helping to position Vaayu and its software solutions at the leading edge of the emerging sustainability landscape.
The European Legislation Affecting Retail
The legislation touched upon are the items most likely to affect brands and retailers operating in Europe in 2023 and beyond, including a special deep dive on the French market, which is currently at the forefront of sustainable legislation.
The regulations discussed include the following:
- Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
- Corporate Sustainability Due Digiligence Directive (CSDD)
- EU Ecolabel
- Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method
- Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation (ESPR)
- Consumer Empowerment Directive
- Green Claims Directive
Watch the video for a closer look into each.
What Changing Sustainability Legislation Means For Retail
The conversation highlighted key elements and themes within the upcoming regulation changes and where they may impact the industry. According to the expert, here’s how it will likely impact:
1. Carbon Reduction
Retailers must closely track their carbon emissions before then disclosing them, driving a closer focus on reduction. “If you want to have a solid and robust plan in order to reduce your emissions, you will need to have a lot of primary data linked to your exact value chain,” says Baptiste. “You want to know exactly where the impact comes from, what stage of your process produces the highest impact and therefore identify the best solution to tackle the hotspots in your value chain.”
Granular data and reporting are crucial to the level of carbon accounting required by upcoming legislation. The industry is encouraged and expected to go beyond tracking to really move the needle on carbon reduction, both curbing emissions and lowering retail’s impact on the planet.
Find out more about the initiatives driving carbon reduction, including the ESPR, CSRD and CSDD, in the full interview.
2. The Consumer
Consumers are key drivers in the move towards the circular economy. “In order to empower the consumer to select better products or services, they need to be properly informed,” shared Baptiste. The new policies should improve the quality and accuracy of the information provided to consumers, reducing the industry's environmental impact.
“The first step is to properly regulate when [retailers] want to differentiate a product or service as ‘being better for the environment’, as it was concluded that more than half of these claims on the market are not properly based on scientific evidence or facts.” This accurate product-level information is needed to supercharge “conscious” consumerism and allow shoppers to effectively vote with their wallets.
Find out more about how retailers are required to inform shoppers using the EU Ecolabel and PEF method in the full interview.
Many of the changes in retail policies across the globe align to help fulfil one goal: to make sustainable products and services the norm. To achieve that, much focus is on the circularity of products, including their durability, repairability and recyclability — three of the core pillars of the circular economy.
“What will be regulated in the future is how you source, design and communicate about your product, how you communicate about your brand performance to the consumer, and to your shareholders,” said Baptiste. “All of the life stages of organizations are impacted by the regulations targeting the circular economy and the reduction of the industry.”
Find out more about the move towards a circular economy via the CSRD, Consumer Empowerment Directive and Green Claims Directive in the full interview.
Changing retail sustainability regulations will play a significant role in determining the direction of the retail industry’s environmental impact. Overall, it is essential for retailers to consider the impact of their operations, supply chains and products on the environment and society, then report on them accordingly, to effectively drive considerable carbon reductions.
By prioritizing sustainability, retailers can take the lead in creating a more sustainable future for all.
For more information on retail’s sustainable legislation changes, watch European Legislation with Baptiste Carrière-Pradal, the first in Vaayu’s new Expertise Unplugged series.