Nature & Decouvertes : chain stores with a heart
You might find a 100% bio product list in one of the 60 giftware shops of the Nature & decouvertes brand, but that's not exactly the only issue here : well established in more than 50 french cities, Nature & Decouvertes has high expectations in term of sustainability and plans to raise public awareness on the subject are clearly the priority on the premises. And that's no hoax : visitors (shoppers) clearly encouter a fresh spirit when being welcomed by the soft glitter of indoor solar powered fountains. With 4 millions customers and 600 employees, Natures & Decouvertes is probably one of the biggest environmental firms in France (and around the world ?).In 2003 Natures & Decouvertes was actually selected as one of the most ethical brands worldwide, one of the 10 'Top Brands With a Conscience' chosen by Medinge Group branding and business think-tank (Medinge Group defines itself as an international collective of marketing and brand experts who meet annually to discuss the future of branding. Each year they produce a list of top brands with an ethical nature).
"oasis of nature in the heart of cities" is the slogan that defines Nature & Decouvertes shops. What do you find there ? a concentration of goodies you could encounter in all sort of retail : environmental books, solar lights, bambooware, trekking boots, garden tools, astronomy lenses, relaxation stones, games for children . All products you'll find there share a specific purpose : help you get closer to nature, get to (re)discover flowers, sky, day and night, in short learn to live in harmony with the environment. That might sound a bit naive or to good to be honest but the deep intentions of the concept have been put down to a charter that develops four major pragmatic entries : customer satisfaction, pedagogic efficiency, ecological integrity, economical independance.
Started as a family affair, business is thriving and social commitment is not an empty word here : employees own 10% of the capital of the company that has also created a foundation to help local environmental associations.
Being mostly found in huge commercial centers, among clothes, music, and all sort of higly lucrative shops, Natures & Decouvertes proves to be a good example of a positive intrusion of ethics in one of the most visible aspect of the modern world : the relation with the public.