At Decathlon United, converting to 100% renewable energy is the top target shared among different countries. What’s more is that the sustainability team in Belgium aims to increase the local impact of the use of renewable energy. To achieve that, they are pioneering a campaign on 1st July 2021: to buy the surplus solar energy from households in exchange for sports equipment and services.
Pioneer in green initiatives
Decathlon Belgium has developed various green initiatives. Today, 27% of its electricity consumption at stores is generated by on-site solar panels. They also invest in new solar panels and wind farms outside Decathlon sites to stimulate local renewable energy. The new initiative will further bring local impact by creating the synergy between the local households, customers and Decathlon stores. Currently, 500,000 people in Belgium have installed solar panels at home, however the traditional energy suppliers offer little compensation for the energy produced and unused. In order to close the gap, Decathlon Belgium offers a compensation to enable surplus energy to be converted and resold into vouchers for the purchase online or in the stores.
Foster energy transition in the local community
The principle behind the initiative is to stimulate self-consumption of electricity. Decathlon Belgium offers a tariff of 0.045 euros per kWh to the households, more or less double the amount offered by the energy suppliers, on the basis of a compensation contract. The energy collected from the households will light up the stores in Belgium and increase the proportion of solar energy usage in the stores. On the other hand, the local community can come to the stores to charge their electric cars and bikes with renewable energy. This will create a better connection in the local neighbourhoods and also a more efficient transition of energy.
Change the game for a better future
Other stakeholders are also brought together by the project. For example, the team works with the energy suppliers and tries to arrange monetary compensation to the households. Also, they collaborate with the local government to accelerate the change of mindset and actions on renewable energy. The ultimate goal is to break the traditional system of one-way electricity generation and distribution, but enable other retailers, companies and households to create a network together for energy transition within Belgium and across the globe.
Joeri MOONS, Sustainable Development Leader at Decathlon Belgium, envisions that local energy communities will be developed in the future. They will invest in batteries, energy, electrical vehicles within the network, operate them and create their own energy consumption. Prior to this bright future, Joeri believes that the current business model has to be changed to value the planet and people as important as the profit. Moreover, the same amount of human resources devoted to economic value should also be put to embody the Inclusive and Regenerative targets in our Vision.
“We need to work on quality, local added value of renewable energy to increase the country mix or even more the city mix of energy. I hope that will change the minds of all the people and make them ask: Where is my energy coming from? Everyone has a role to play in it and we are always happy to have people onboard to help us in the transition.”
– Joeri MOONS