The sea of plastic, fine particle pollution, food waste, etc., the dangers that threaten our planet are more and more and consumers are becoming aware of them. Innovations in the direction of environmental protection and environmentally responsible consumption are multiplied. They surf on real needs. Overview of 12 key trends for the most promising solutions.
1. Urban agriculture
Agricool, Merci Raymond, Topager, etc., many start-ups want to turn our roofs and streets into kitchen gardens. Globally, urban agriculture is used by 700 million urban dwellers (according to the FAO). In Paris, 4 Monoprix stores already offer the strawberries that Agricool grows in its containers. In the northern part of the capital, the future “apartment building” Cultivate (7,000 square meters) has chosen to rely on Franprix. The brand has committed to buying the majority of the 50 tonnes of vegetables produced there from the end of the year.
2. Bicycle repair
In the shadow of the self-service bicycle giants, a cohort of start-ups exploits cyclomania. The applications Ridy, Repair and Run and Cyclofix thus make it possible to find a repairman. The latter was launched in 2015 by Alexis Zerbib and is operational in six cities, including Paris and its inner suburbs (before attacks on Nantes, Toulouse and Rennes). In order to be paid, a commission is charged for each transaction. A promising model because the repair of bicycles and scooters already weighs 300 million euros in France (and 1.5 billion in Europe).
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The fight against waste
A third of our food is wasted. A growing problem according to BCG. Driven by public sensitivity, anti-waste applications are flourishing. Checkfood, Karma, Zerogachis are fighting for the market. For what results? The ones from TooGoodToGo are compelling. Downloaded by more than 3.5 million French people, the app founded by Lucie Basch makes it possible to recover unsold items from 7,000 merchants at discounted prices. The start-up is remunerated by charging 1.09 euros per basket and multiplying partnerships with major retailers, including Carrefour, Monoprix, Systeme U, Biocoop and Cora.
4. Waste recycling
In France, only a quarter of plastic packaging is recycled. To give them a new life, Benoît Paget, the co-founder of Green Big, designed a machine that transforms plastic bottles into ready-to-use flakes for recycled manufacturers (a market of 9 billion euros). To reach the general public, the company started implementing its invention in supermarkets after raising 1 million euros (it pays them a percentage of its sales). The goal is to reach 150 to 250 supermarkets by 2019, which will allow it to reach 3 million euros in turnover. The hardest part is convincing the distributors.
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5. Organic intimate hygiene
Cosmetics, paints and organic diapers are invading the shelves. A worthy representative of this new wave, JHO, launched in 2018 by Coline Mazeyrat and Dorothée Barth, markets intimate protection in natural materials and organic cotton, without additives and at reasonable prices. They are sold by subscription on the starter’s website. In one year, 30,000 orders were placed. Operating in January 2019, a fundraising of 700,000 euros made it possible to intensify the commercial effort. Goal: reach 100,000 orders.
6. Green supplies
While larger cities seek to improve their air quality, all sorts of initiatives are emerging around clean mobility. K-Ryole (19 employees) is founded by Nicolas Duvaut and Gilles Vallier and offers an electrically assisted trailer for bicycles. For the ten large accounts that have already taken it into use (Franprix, Bricorama, Biocoop), it is an ecological and economical solution for “last mile” deliveries, a market that should double in size by 2025 (and reach up to 5.2 billion euros). The goal is to put 400 into circulation before the end of the year and achieve 2 million euros in sales.
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7. Consumer apps
Yuka has 9.7 million users, which estimates 2 million foods and cosmetics a day. A success that can be explained by the search for products that respect the environment and the need for transparency. The latest arrival in the consumer apps market (in April 2019), myLabel can be customized according to several criteria (respect for biodiversity, local origin, presence of additives, working conditions, etc.) thanks to its use of classic data and information from associations such as Greenpeace, National Consumer Institute and FAIR (e).
8. Sustainable clothing
Against “fast fashions” heavyweights, proponents of “slow fashion” emerge. Every year, dozens of brands are created that put the protection of the planet at the center of their project, and the organic cotton market grows by 12% a year, according to TextileExchange. Loom was founded in 2016 by Julia Faure and Guillaume Declair and creates and sells solid and environmentally friendly clothing on its website. Since its inception, it has reached 30,000 customers and aims for 700,000 euros in revenue this year. It has just raised 500,000 euros in crowdfunding. Double as expected!
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9. Short-distance carpooling
Short-distance carpooling applications (between home and work) gain their full significance in the large suburbs of urban areas that are poorly served by public transport. There are about fifteen. Founded by Olivier Binet and Tristan Croiset, Karos would have taken the lead with 65% of trips and 180,000 users. Supported by a pool of investors (6 million euros raised), the start-up (35 people) gets its revenue from agreements with local authorities and companies with more than 100 employees. It is operational in Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nantes and is experiencing a growth of 20% per month in the number of journeys made.
10. New energies
By using cleaner and cheaper energy, the trend is taken advantage of by many entrepreneurs. Park’n’Plug (founded by Pascal Toggenburger) installs charging stations for electric cars in parking lots. Its customers: headquarters and condominiums. The building supports the installation of terminals and each user then pays a monthly subscription to be able to recharge their car. This year, the Trojan company (45 people) wants to double the number of installed terminals throughout the territory (400 so far).
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11. New materials
Educated in Japan and at the famous MIT, the young architect Timothée Boitouzet imagined an environmentally friendly alternative to concrete. The result of two years of research, Woodoo is an “augmented” tree. Originally softened by the extraction of one of its components, this “tree of the future” receives a special resin that gives it amazing properties: resistance to fire, insects and moisture, transparency. The start-up will soon start a production line. It is of interest to the construction and luxury industry.
Powered by start-ups like Frawmagerie (vegetable cheeses) or Ici & Là (dumplings and steaks made from legumes), the vegan market would weigh 380 million euros, according to the Xerfi Institute. A new Eldorado where many specialized e-retailers (food, cosmetics, textiles) intrude. Vegan-place.com was founded in 2018 by Olivier Dufit, Laetitia Colin and Tristan Balozian and aims to bring together “everything vegans need” in one place. The “Marketplace” requires more than 5,000 references and receives a commission of 10 to 20% for each transaction.
>> Read also – Vegan meat: a market of 100 billion in 15 years, according to JPMorgan!
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