Fonds Éco IGA – Jour de la Terre
Industry: Environment + food retail
Primary SDG Focus
Secondary SDG Focus
How was your primary SDG focus identified and prioritized in the company’s value chain?
Since 2008, Jour de la Terre operates the Fonds Éco IGA through various innovative programmes with a two-fold target :
- IGA merchants : help them reduce their environmental impact in their production and retail activities
- IGA clients and communities : support them towards more conscious consumption practices
All Fonds Éco IGA programs are relevant to SDG 12 :
- À vos Frigos – free workshops (in IGA stores) and conferences (in various private and public organizations) on food-waste issues and solutions.
- Action Réduction – voluntary IGA stores get personalised coaching from a Jour de la Terre waste management expert, and if they reach a certain level of performance they get certified. The 5-level certification must be renewed after 2 years. The aim is to help the merchants improve every year on waste management and reduction.
- Waste reduction kits – a dedicated team tours 222 IGA stores in Quebec and New-Brunswick over the summer, to hand out plastic-waste reduction kits to citizens (reusable straws, beeswax foodwraps, mesh produce bags, reusable silicone sandwich pouches). The kits are sold at a low price to make waste reduction more accessible.
- For the Fonds Éco IGA 10th year in 2018, 4 electric delivery trucks were handed out to IGA merchants. The trucks are used vehicles that were converted to electrical energy.
2019 is also the launch of a new electric vehicle charging network, la Recharge Éco IGA. Electric vehicle owners will be able to fast-charge for free until June 2020.
How was your primary SDG integrated and anchored throughout your business?
Sustainable production and consumption has always been a core value for Jour de la Terre, IGA merchants and Fonds Éco IGA.
All the programs that were developed since 2008 are a way of responding to the current most relevant environmental issues (waste management, food waste, plastic waste, sustainable mobility), and thus enable sustainable production and consumption to be further implemented both at the IGA level and at the consumer level.
Managed by the organization Jour de la Terre, Fonds Éco IGA was founded in 2008 by Quebec’s IGA grocers, whose donations will add up to eleven million dollars this year. Fonds Éco IGA drives sustainable development by financing concrete, sustainable projects that respond to environmental realities and aim to protect, conserve, and promote sustainable environmental practices across Quebec and New Brunswick.
Did you employ any innovative approaches in your efforts to implement the goal?
The Fonds Éco IGA, since its creation in 2008, has been a drive towards innovation for IGA merchants – Jour de la Terre comes up with new ideas and programs to help IGA being in line with current environmental issues, and responding to those issues in the most relevant way.
More specifically, in the recent years, the Fonds Éco IGA has :
- Worked on new topics – for instance, after handing out rainbarrels and compost bins for 9 years, we decided to switch to plastic waste reduction in 2019, since it is a burning issue. Educational workshops have been added to raise customer awareness on the consumption of single-use plastics and its issues. The Fonds Éco IGA wants to make sure the products are accessible – the kits are thus sold at a reduced price because they are subsidized (30 $, with a market value of 75 $).
- In the same way, new programs on sustainable mobility were launched in 2018 (Fonds Éco IGA 10th year) and 2019 (charging stations network).
- Put forward new products and companies – for instance, the four delivery trucks that were converted to electrical energy are converted by EcoTuned, a Quebec-based start-up.
Were any partnerships leveraged or created?
The Fonds Éco IGA has created interesting partnerships, thus enabling local companies to thrive:
- with EcoTuned for the conversion of four electric trucks in 2018-2019. This is the equivalent of 0.5 full-time new job created at EcoTuned.
- with Saksac in 2019, a Quebec-based young company. Thanks to the amount of mesh produce bags ordered by Fonds Éco IGA for the sustainable kit program, Saksac was able to improve their products and to start making them with 100 % Recycled PET (R-PET), which was not previously the case. Also, the partnership with Fonds Éco IGA helped Saksac connect with Sobeys and start selling their products in IGA stores at a Quebec-wide scale.
Also, the Fonds Éco IGA acts as a partner to several significant NGOs and charities :
- with la Tablée des Chefs, an NGO that develops culinary education for the youth. Fonds Éco IGA sponsors la Tablée des Chefs since 2015 and the chefs are employed by À vos Frigos for the food-waste workshops.
- With the Festival Zéro-Déchet in Montreal (Zero-Waste festival) in 2018.
With the Fondation Charles Bruneau, an NGO that fights child cancer. One of their key annual fundraising event is a bike-tour ; the waste management team of Jour de la Terre organises the waste-management part of the finish area of the Tour since 2015.
What communications strategy did you employ to share the initiative with your stakeholders?
All programs have a cross-media communication strategy, established every year with the communication teams at Jour de la Terre and Sobeys.
- Press releases are sent to local and regional media at the beginning, during and for the final summary of each program (appendix 1 to 3).
- Municipalities are informed of local activities in their area and often take part. For instance, more than 120 local representatives took part in our 10th anniversary celebrations throughout Quebec.
- In-store information tools are designed for each program – communication kit to explain the waste-management certification to clients; leaflets on food waste workshops and sustainable kits distributions, etc. (appendix 4 to 7).
- Social media platforms of IGA and Jour de la Terre are used to advertise all our initiatives with dedicated posts and photo albums (appendix 8 and 9). We also launched a food-waste community on Facebook (Communauté #Àvosfrigos)
- Jour de la Terre monthly newsletter promotes Fonds Eco IGA programs, with a reach of about 77,000 people(example 1 ;example 2) and specific newsletters sent out for the key steps of each program (example 1; example 2; example 3)
- Relevant connections and strategies are set up with influencers according to the needs of each program (launch of plastic-waste reduction kits).
- Both Jour de la Terre and IGA websites also serve as communication tools for the Fonds Éco IGA, with dedicated pages. In 2018, jour de la Terre website was visited more than 196,000 times. See:
How were KPIs and the levels of success outlined and defined?
An assessment of every program is drawn every year. This assessment, with key indicators, is the baseline for discussions with the Sustainable Development Committee of merchants at Sobeys – every year they decide to renew the various programs, based on Jour de la Terre proposals and assessment.
Here are some examples of KPIs for the Fonds Éco IGA programs :
- À vos Frigos. We evaluate the number of people reached by the workshops and conferences. For 2019, nearly 2900 people were reached by the program; with 98 % of people satisfied by their experience. Nearly 92 % of the survey respondents will change some of their food-related practices after attending the workshop or conference.
- Action-Reduction and waste management program. As of June 26th 2019, 274 stores are part of the waste-management improvement program (i.e. 93 % of all IGA stores in Quebec and New Brunswick); and 169 stores (or 57 % of all IGA stores in Quebec and New Brunswick) are certified with the Action-Réduction
- Waste reduction kits. The number of kits distributed is a good indicator of single-used plastic avoided. The figures for the 2019 edition are not available yet but we estimate more than 17 000 kits will be distributed to citizens around Quebec.
How were reporting and monitoring conceptualized and undertaken?
Each program has custom monitoring tools to make sure we follow the relevant KPIs. For instance :
- À vos Frigos uses the online application tool to also follow the actual number of participants – the numbers are filled in by the food waste expert after each workshop or conference. An evaluation survey is also sent out to all participants.
- The waste management program has a dedicated tool, developed by Jour de la Terre IT team, where each store has a follow-up section and where our waste management experts track every action taken with the store. IGA stores must also enter their waste data into a dedicated software program called Metrio.
- The waste-reduction kits subscriptions and actual distributions are followed by the logistics coordinator and integrated into a follow-up tool.
- Electric delivery trucks have an on-board tracking system that allows us to get detailed statistics on their usage.
Online surveys are sent out to IGA merchants at the end of our main programs every year.
What were some key lessons learned?
Some very innovative projects take more time than expected, especially when it involves R&D (electric trucks for instance), so maybe allow more time for this kind of projects in the future.
What were the key impacts and results?
The Fonds Éco IGA has had significant impact over the environment and the communities in the last 11 years.
We produced a video to summarise its actions and to thank the IGA merchants for their contribution, in 2019 : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QL5631Hjryd72jg9tARXTUmZBAaVNjSC/view?usp=sharing
Some technical sheets, by region and general, to highlight the contribution of the Fonds Éco IGA with key figures (see appendix 3).
Overall, since the beginning of Fonds Éco IGA, more than 2,500 environmental projects and actions were completed throughout Quebec and New-Brunswick!