Entrepreneurship: the keys to setting up a (truly) green business

From the beginning of the health crisis, the appetite for ecology took a new impetus. So much so that the growth in sales of green foods in March exceeded conventional foods by 15 points, according to Nielsen. Today, everyone wants organic. Consumers who care about their health and the environment. And entrepreneurs, attracted by the double-digit growth of these products and the astonishing margins they promise. However, it is not enough to put an “organic” or “eco-responsible” label on the packaging of its goods to see their sales increase. “Rule number 1 for success: offer high quality products that work with sincerity”, advises Philippe Vincent, the founder of the company Retail & Detail. Going organic is demanding. To meet customer expectations, you must have a strong environmental belief.

Plan for a solid cash flow

Going organic requires an appropriate business model. With a muscular treasury. “In organic, the price of raw materials is much higher than in ordinary products,” emphasizes Rémi Layalle, CEO of Papate, an organic childcare brand whose products are made in France. In addition, the cost of the hexagonal labor is also higher. an organic product five to ten times higher than for a conventional product.

Automatically, the company’s working capital requirement (WCR) exceeds the requirement for a classic box. With such costs, and in order not to increase the retail prices of her toys, Alexandra Morge Rochette, co-founder of Fabulabox, has reduced her margins and based her strategy on selling large quantities. Another impact on its business model. “We decided to export faster than expected.” Successful: Launched in 2018, the brand is already present in the Netherlands, Greece and Denmark.

Show yourself more royalist than the king

Today, the organic label is no longer enough to ensure the success of an article. “It has become a standard,” says Elie Cohen, creator of Fairblue jeans. To be credible, one must go as far as possible in the responsible approach. Thus, the Parisian entrepreneur offers vegan pants: the leather on his labels is made from pineapple and corn. It is necessary to find the differentiation points that customers who are concerned about the impact of their purchase on the planet will be sensitive: Zero waste and anti-waste, chosen by Julie Ducret, for example, for her Pulpe de Vie cosmetics.

>> Read also – Bioburger aims to combine fast food and organic, and it works!

Locals and manufacturers in France (recognized by 45% and 39% of French people) are also on the rise. It also included (that is, the articles adapted to different people). It is up to you to find the right arguments. Without, however, falling into the opposite surplus and printing too many labels and logos on your packaging. Beyond a certain threshold, consumers saturate and no longer distinguish anything. This is what marketers call “feature fatigue”. “Focus on three or four mentions that really express the value of your business. It is better to have a few, but which are relevant to many who create confusion “, sums up Nathalie Spielmann, teacher-researcher at Neoma Business School.

Get ready to fulfill many commitments

Organic certification is very restrictive. Your customers are ready to pay more for an organic product (75% more expensive on average in food, according to the magazine “Linéaires”). But they are real experts, you will not fool them. So avoid greenwashing. In addition to their cost (ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 euros per year), the labels are highly monitored and include hundreds of checkpoints, from the origin of your manufacturing ingredients to your logistics, including your accounts and your suppliers. If you are not ready to go all the way and let the listeners look around, give up!

>> Establishment of a company or association, administration of invoices and preparation of articles of association: entrepreneurs, all our services to support you in your efforts

Choose the right distribution channel

To sell your products, there are several solutions available to you. Direct sales via your website. But also specialty stores. Biocoop, Les Comptoirs de la bio, Le Marché de Léopold, etc., there are more and more of them. “By referring to you, these brands give you credibility. They are preferable to all marketplaces,” continues Rémi Layalle. Finally, you can knock on the doors for mass distribution, provided you offer an innovative product. “Supermarkets are happy with organic products , which gives them a modern image. But they already have a lot, “warns Philippe Vincent. To choose the right channel,” make sure your marketing mix is ​​consistent, “advises Nathalie Spielmann. In the minds of customers,” local “products are connected with goods made by artisans.They have no place in supermarkets.

>> Read also – Entrepreneurship: 5 ideas for solidarity and responsible franchises

Boost your communication

Finally, in order to be recognized in this ultra-demanding universe, it is necessary to adopt a “leveraged” communication. Like Fabulabox, many VSEs dream of raising money to advertise and gain fame. Meanwhile, they tell on their website in great detail what they produce and how they do it. Fairblue jeans and Fabulabox have put dozens of pages of text, images and videos online, requiring hours of reading to explain their activity correctly. Excessive? Maybe. But when it comes to products as innovative as jeans made without water and toys without kerosene, there is no alternative.

>> Also read – How Jho became the leading brand of organic feminine hygiene products

Ten labels to know

  • AB. This is the French brand that guarantees that your product contains at least 95% certified organic ingredients. It is optional.
  • Möbius strip (triangular logo consisting of three arrows). Indicates a product that is recyclable or made from 65% recycled materials.
  • Cosmebio. For organic and organic cosmetics.
  • Demeter. Organic products from biodynamic agriculture, that is, deals with respect for soil fertility.
  • Eco-located. Certification body that, among other things, issues the European organic label.
  • Eurosheet (leaf-shaped logo). This European organic label is mandatory.
  • European eco-label (floral logo). Health and environmentally friendly products.
  • Made in France (“Made in France”). Article whose last manufacturing phase was carried out on national territory.
  • GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). Certifies that the textiles that make up the clothes are organic and respect the environment and people.
  • Guaranteed French origin. The product contains at least 50% French ingredients.

>> Read also – Recruitment: these 5 green jobs that will be highly sought after in 2021

Testimony of Emmanuel Berthod, Founder of BioPoolTech

“We’re a bit like the Tesla of the swimming pool. In 2016, we created a brand of organic swimming pools: Our models are made of wood, they do not contain a gram of concrete, they work without chlorine, without salt and are more economical to flush water and electricity than conventional swimming pools. They are also very aesthetic and we have deliberately positioned them at the top and top of the range market (equivalent to 40% of the French swimming pool market worth 2 billion euros). Intended for “hipsters”, fans of ecology and technology, ready to pay 5% more than a traditional first-class swimming pool. Our team has 15 employees and 10 franchisees. The company should see its turnover double this year to reach 3 million euros. ”

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