The way we live, eat, wash and travel has an impact on the climate. Ways of reducing our carbon footprint are largely within the reach of consumers, who are increasingly concerned about such issues.
How should we go about it? By looking at how we live and making certain changes.
Housing is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by transport and food. So insulating our homes and reducing how much water we use are just a couple of actions to take.
Food is the third largest source of greenhouses gases (GHG). In France, agriculture accounts for 17.4% of GHG emissions, 10.4% of which are due to cattle breeding. Although efforts have been made to reduce GHG emissions in this sector, reducing our consumption of meat, and in particular red meat, is an important factor to reduce our ecological footprint. At the same time, eating fruit and vegetables that are in season both supports the local economy and avoids products having to be conveyed by polluting means of transport to arrive on our plates.
To meet consumer demand, brands have no choice but to make their commitment to the environment visible and transparent. Some are members of 1% for the Planet, an organisation that supports concrete actions on this aspect, with companies paying 1% of their turnover to environmental causes. In France, currently 1,000 companies are members.
Other companies fund their operations thanks to La Nef, a citizen banking cooperative that only supports projects with ecological added-value.
The appeal of local products
During the pandemic, French people turned to local produce, and consumed 6% more of it in June 2020 compared with May 2021. More than one in three French people now want to purchase more locally.
Local en Bocal, the artisanal, organic and local cannery in Avignon, offers soups, compotes, spreads and cooked vegetables in bottles and glass jars. The company works for its own brand, A côté, as well as to order for farmers, local canteens and well-known organic brands. Local en Bocal only works with organic producers established between 30 and 150 km from its plant.
Located in south-eastern France, Le Fabuleux Jardin grows rare and ancient varieties of vegetables and herbs using permaculture and biodynamics. It then processes the fruit from its crops on site. Its motto is: “from seed to plate”. The company also makes a lovely range of sauces, spreads and pestos.
The fine vegetable and ancient fruit preserves by Variette, located in south-western France, are produced in the same spirit. These ancient, rustic or so-called popular varieties of crops are rich in taste and nutrients. The producers of the seeds, main crops and finished products are from the South of France, mainly Occitania. This reduces transport and creates local links.
Plant-based meat alternatives
75% of GHG emissions from French farming are generated by livestock, of which two thirds from cattle breeding. In terms of consumption, red meat has the biggest impact: one kilogram of beef generates 16 kilograms of CO2 compared with 6 kilograms of CO2 for pork and 0.7 kilograms of CO2 for one kilogram of durum wheat. It is essential to offer alternatives, and brands have jumped on the bandwagon: the organic sections in shops are now rich in quality, original and tasty plant-based innovations.
Originally founded on tofu, Tossolia advocates for quality plant-based artisanal cuisine. Its varied range of tofu (olives, smoked, turmeric, garlic and chives) can go with plant-based burgers and cooked pulses.
The German company Wheaty has been providing plant-based substitutes for meat and sausages since 1993.
For Pa’lais, developing plant-based cuisine is a healthy and ecological choice. Its sauces (plain, bechamel, alfredo, shiitake) and creamy and delicious spreads (garlic and fine herbs, cucumber and chives, etc.) are made with cashew nut milk. They provide vitamins, minerals and proteins while minimising salt and saturated fat.
The plant-based dips by Yum&Wild are made with chickpeas grown in the south of France, which are cooked and then mixed with natural ingredients. As part of an upcycling process, the cooking water, called “aquafaba”, is blended with French sunflower oil and spices to create mayonnaise. The ingredients are sourced locally.
Circular economy: the future in motion
The circular economy promotes essential values in this fundamental movement aiming to reduce the use of natural resources. Reduce, reuse and recycle are three actions to develop sustainable consumption.
To make sustainable become the norm
Buying sustainable products means they can be reused as often as necessary. The drinking bottles by Qwetch, the cans and bottles by Les Artistes Paris, the beakers, cups and steel material by Klean Canteen, the Dopper drinking bottles (with lid used as a cup) are part of this sustainable trend.
Concerned about the devastating plastic pollution in Asia, Jérémy and Magali Tribou dreamt up Cap Bambou when they used a bamboo straw for the first time. The company has been managed since 2019 by Vincent Penel and his partner Eulalie. Their range of products (for the bathroom, kitchen, baby kit) is made of raw bamboo and not bamboo fibre, as the latter is sometimes controversial.
Pebbly also proposes alternatives to plastic with aesthetic and practical products made of bamboo, glass, wood and metal to cook and receive guests with elegance, such as a chopping set, cheese platter, breadbasket, different types of boards, measuring jug, kitchen scales, etc. The wide range meets every need.
No more plastic boxes that you throw away after lunch! For mobile workers or people who love to be on-the-move, the Bento by Ma bonne étoile is a lunch box made entirely of plant-based materials, without GMO or melamine. With two large 500 ml containers, one intermediate container and a lid, it weighs only 200 g. The company also makes children’s refillable drink bottles, which is a real revolution and does away with disposable packaging.
Indutex, specialised in soaking packaging fabrics with wax, proposes “eco wraps” to replace plastic film or aluminium. One of its innovations is the Vege Wrap, coated in new-generation plant-based wax.
To provide a maximum of professionals with plastic-free and zero-waste products, the distribution company SP Eco Distribution has a vast catalogue. Its branch in Provence delivers all over France. In addition to products in its own name, the company distributes for Parker, Paos, Acorella, Minimall, The Last Whale, etc.
To minimise waste, Hamac has designed a washable nappy with patented leak-proof system. Easy to use, it contains a waterproof pocket in which a washable and absorbent pad is inserted. A biodegradable washable liner collects stools.
Les Mouettes Vertes is a leader in tailor-made textiles for companies, with organic cotton products. Closely combining entrepreneurship and the social and solidarity economy, the Breton company has forged a true partnership with its workshop in India.
Deposit return, anti-waste and composting
The deposit return concept is making a comeback thanks to projects like Ma bouteille s’appelle revient, based in south-eastern France. At Bocalerie and Boc-Trotteurs, you can buy local and organic food in jars, in a drive-through facility. The glass bottles are washed after use and returned by the consumer in exchange for a voucher of 10 euro cents per jar. This “saves 79% of greenhouse gas emissions” states Claire Richeux, project co-ordinator, and also saves 33% of water, because washing bottles is more ecological than making new ones.
In a sector where it is the custom to dispose of bottles at their end-of-life, the cosmetics brand Cozie is encouraging the deposit scheme and reuse of bottles. Only the pumps cannot be washed. Once recovered by the company, they are recycled thanks to a partnership with Terracycle. According to a survey by EVEA conducted for Cozie (funded by ADEME), reusing the containers reduces 79% of carbon emissions compared with containers thrown in the household waste.
Too large, too small, misshapen… 15% of fruit and vegetables fail to pass the grading test. For the company Moi moche et bon in eastern France, this is not acceptable, and so it uses them to make 100% French juices: carrot, lemon, apple, grape, orange, Corsican clementine, etc.
The Eco-digesteurs® by Eco Digest offer practical and optimised solutions to process organic waste, for both professionals and private individuals (on sale in 2022). On-site, they can treat all kinds of organic waste: fruit and vegetable peelings, meat, fish, plants, all in just 24 hours with a 90% reduction of weight and volume. As organic waste collection raises issues due to the fuel consumption of the trucks (even hybrid), this type of organic waste management appears to be a much better solution.
And for good wine without pesticides, Oé, certified B Corp and an “entreprise à mission” has what it takes. It is the first wine brand in France to restore the deposit system in France in an attempt to reach zero waste.
Natexpo brings together many companies committed to the fight against global warming. Working locally, developing plant-based products and offering alternatives to plastic are some of the paths taken by these actors of change.
 Source: French Ministry of Ecology
 Source: Idèle livestock institute
 Le Figaro, according to a survey by IRI, an institute specialised in analysing consumer product data: https://www.lefigaro.fr/conso/consommation-plus-d-un-francais-sur-trois-souhaite-acheter-plus-de-produits-locaux-20210630#:~:text=D’apr%C3%A8s%20une%20nouvelle%20%C3%A9tude,que%20de%202%2C3%25.
 Source: https://www.decodagri.fr/lelevage-emet-plus-de-gaz-a-effet-de-serre-que-le-transport/