Oceans 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 multiplying. 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 vegetable gardens. Globally, urban agriculture is used by 700 million city dwellers (according to 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 “urban farm” Cultivate (7,000 square meters) has chosen to trust Franprix. The brand has committed to buying the majority of the 50 tons of vegetables that will be produced there from the end of the year.
2. Bicycle repair
In the shadow of the self-service bike giants, a cohort of start-ups are capitalizing on cyclomania. The applications Ridy, Repair and Run and Cyclofix thus make it possible to find a repairer. 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). To get paid, a commission is charged for each transaction. A promising model because the repair of bicycles and scooters is already worth 300 million euros in France (and 1.5 billion in Europe).
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3. The fight against waste
A third of our food goes to waste. A growing problem according to BCG. Driven by public sensitivity, anti-littering applications are flourishing. Checkfood, Karma, Zerogachis are fighting for the market. For what results? Those from TooGoodToGo are convincing. Downloaded by more than 3.5 million French people, the app founded by Lucie Basch makes it possible to recover unsold goods from 7,000 traders at discounted prices. The startup is remunerated by charging 1.09 euros per basket and is multiplying partnerships with major retailers including Carrefour, Monoprix, Systeme U, Biocoop and Cora.
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4. Recycling of waste
In France, only a quarter of plastic packaging is recycled. To give them a new life, Benoît Paget, co-founder of Green Big, has designed a machine that turns plastic bottles into ready-to-use flakes for recycling producers (a 9 billion euro market). 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 in 2019, which will allow it to reach 3 million euros in revenue. The hardest part is convincing the distributors.
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5. Organic intimate hygiene
Cosmetics, paint and organic diapers invade 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 start-up’s website. In one year, 30,000 orders were placed. Launched in January 2019, fundraising of 700,000 euros made it possible to intensify commercial efforts. Goal: reach 100,000 orders.
6. Green deliveries
As major cities seek to improve their air quality, all sorts of clean mobility initiatives are popping up. K-Ryole (19 employees) was founded by Nicolas Duvaut and Gilles Vallier and offers an electrically assisted trailer for bicycles. For the ten large accounts that have already adopted it (Franprix, Bricorama, Biocoop), it is an ecological and economic 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 who rate 2 million food and cosmetic products per day. A success that can be explained by the search for products that respect the environment and the need for transparency. The latest arrival on the market of consumer apps (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(s).
8. Sustainable clothing
Against the “fast fashion” heavyweights, the advocates of “slow fashion” arise. Every year, several dozen brands are created that put the protection of the planet at the center of their project, and the organic cotton market is growing by 12% per year, according to TextileExchange. Founded in 2016 by Julia Faure and Guillaume Declair, Loom creates and sells solid and eco-friendly clothing on its website. Since its creation, it has reached 30,000 customers and is aiming 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. Carpooling over short distances
Short-distance carpooling applications (between home and work) take on their full significance in the large suburbs of urban areas 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. Backed by a pool of investors (6 million euros raised), the start-up (35 people) gets its income from agreements with local authorities and companies with more than 100 employees. It is operational in Paris, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nantes and is experiencing 20% growth per month in the number of journeys made.
10. New energies
By using cleaner and cheaper energy, the trend is exploited by many entrepreneurs. Park’n’Plug (founded by Pascal Toggenburger) installs charging points 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 charge their car. The Trojan company (45 people) wants to double this year 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 envisioned 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 “wood of the future” receives a special resin that gives it fantastic properties: resistance to fire, insects and moisture, transparency. The startup will start a production line soon. It is of interest to the construction and luxury industries.
Driven by start-ups such as 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 specialist e-traders (food, cosmetics, textiles) come across. Vegan-place.com was founded in 2018 by Olivier Dufit, Laetitia Colin and Tristan Balozian, and aims to gather “everything vegans need” in one place. The “marketplace” requires more than 5,000 referrals and receives a commission of 10 to 20% for each transaction.
>> Also read – Vegan meat: a 100 billion market in 15 years, according to JPMorgan!
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