This is one of the measures included in the climate bill, examined in the National Assembly this Monday: the increase in bulk sales in stores.
The government asks stores of more than 400m² to dedicate 20% of their sales area in bulk before January 1, 2030. A measure that seems to go in the right direction for the environment, but that also has its limits .
What is it about ?
In the “consumption” section of the bill entitled “climate and resilience”, I ask in bulk: these foods that are sold without packaging, such as cereals, pasta, fruits and vegetables, or even homemade products, cuts and other nuts. These foods are available today in specialized stores, organic stores, in markets, but also in some traditional supermarkets.
🏛 Article 11 is approved!
Consumers want to strengthen bulk product development. This is what we are doing by creating an obligation to comply in 2030 for businesses of more than 400m2. 🌱 # ClimatResilience pic.twitter.com/mtGlxBmO5C
– Aurore Bergé (@auroreberge) March 11, 2021
In the government text, examined this Monday in the National Assembly, the government sets for medium and large surfaces (more than 400m²), the goal of dedicating 20% of its shelves to bulk sale by January 2030.
The measure arises from a proposal from the Citizen’s Climate Convention (CCC). Its members wanted to force medium or large stores to dedicate half of their surface to bulk. Less ambitious than the will of the CCC, the amendment is even more restrictive than the original version of the text. In committee, the deputies wanted to strengthen the measure by making it normative.
Article 11: @auroreberge transforms the objective of bulk sale into an obligation. Medium and large surfaces will be obliged to dedicate 20% of their shelves to it on January 1, 2030 (or the equivalent in turnover or number of references). #DirectAN #ClimatResilience pic.twitter.com/vhbJ9kLBge
– LCP (@LCP) March 11, 2021
Why is this topic?
Because volume is popular! Even more than ever. According to an Ifop survey published in 2020, 88% of French people have or would like to be able to use bulk purchases as much as possible.
We find the trend if we also look at the turnover of the sector: between 2013 and 2019, it would have gone from 100 million euros to 1,200 million euros, estimates the professional organization Réseau Vrac. In 2019, the growth of the sector is estimated to have increased by 40%.
Problem, these alternative modes of consumption are still too inaccessible. And prices are added to the underdeveloped supply, which in general remain high.
#LoiClimat 3️⃣ / 4️⃣ On the issue of waste reduction, the Convention called for strong measures in favor of the dev. the sale in bulk and the deposit for the reuse of glass containers, 2 alternatives that greatly reduce single-use plastics.
– Alexandre Scheuer φ (@AlecxJPS) March 9, 2021
Why is it important for the environment?
As the Zero Waste France association summarizes, “promoting bulk sales reduces the environmental impact of our consumption by reducing waste of upstream resources and downstream single-use packaging waste.” The democratization of bulk sales has long been a conservationist demand, too.
Why can it be restrictive for businesses?
In the case of supermarkets, bulk volume may require logistical constraints. As La Tribune points out, one of the difficulties is “finding suppliers capable of delivering the products in primary packaging appropriate to the requirements of the bulk sale. Most of the time, the products are packed at source in secondary packaging or, at the same time, in reverse, delivered by the ton to the packaging platforms. ” And then we must also mobilize personnel.
The climate and resilience bill
Examined since Monday in the hemicycle, it is assumed that the “climate and resilience” bill reflects part of the 146 proposals of the Citizen Climate Convention (CCC) that Emmanuel Macron had retained.
Its examination in committee led to numerous rewritings of the text. Now it has 126 articles, among which the prohibition of advertising in favor of fossil fuels stands out, the obligation to provide spare parts to bicycle manufacturers, the reduction of artificialization of soils and the regulation of housing rental ” thermal filters “.
Very critical of the government text, environmental associations called on Sunday to demonstrate, judging that the government text does not go far enough.
What are the limits of the invoice?
If for associations, in particular Zero Waste France, the measure goes in the right direction, it is not without limits.
The amendment, which made the measure officially mandatory, is welcomed. However, the modification of the original text is also criticized because several provisions would weaken the restrictive character: “It only refers to ‘retail businesses’ and the products in question are those ‘for mass consumption'”, explains the Actu-environment site. Furthermore, “the obligation no longer refers to bulk, but to ‘the sale of products presented without primary packaging’, with bulk being only one possibility.”
Climate law: the bill is not there! We will be underway on Sunday, March 28, to defend a REAL Climate Law, ambitious in bulk and deposit. Join us ! cc @ZeroWasteFR https://t.co/OmwGJBAMZj pic.twitter.com/p5RRqpFlQC
– Zero Waste Paris (@ZeroWasteParis) March 23, 2021
Therefore, it seems that flexibility is given to companies that will be able to choose between effectively reserving 20% of their shelves for bulk sales or installing “a device having an equivalent effect expressed in number of references or in proportion to turnover”, such as clears up. in the amendment.
Ultimately, the State Council sums up in an opinion issued in February, “such an article” is ultimately “devoid of regulatory scope”, as the rapporteur boasted of the “consumption” section of the bill.
For concrete details, we will have to wait for the publication of a next decree.