June 1st and 2nd, 2021 Carreau du Temple - Paris - France The capital event for luxury packaging

3 questions to François-Michel Lambert, co-founding chair of the National Institute for the Circular Economy (INEC)

EXPERT - The 18/03/2019

  • Today INEC is one of the leading organisations in France (and in Europe) in terms of the circular economy: how does France position itself on this subject?

We’re making progress and we have already covered a lot of ground. I was deputy chair of the French National Assembly sustainable development commission and I clearly remember that only six years ago, when I raised the question of the circular economy in the Assembly Hemicycle, there were gentle snorts of laughter. Today it is perfectly integrated. And incorporated from all sides…

  • Amongst your members, luxury goods companies and key players in the packaging industry distinguish themselves…through their absence. How do you explain this?

It’s not entirely true. Things are becoming more established. We have recently been approached by one of the LVMH group’s most prestigious signatures who is very interested in precisely this question, and luxury goods companies have every reason to be forerunners in terms of circularity. I am not the only one who believes that the circular economy should really have been called “the resource economy”. We need to stop simply considering it from a recycling perspective: fundamentally, its vocation is to question our relationship with resources by looking at how we can create the most value possible per kilo of resource/mobilised material. We rip something out of the ground – and I use the word “rip” intentionally – that we must respect by using it as effectively and efficiently as we can.

  • To adopt this approach in a form that reflects a return to age-old wisdom, INCE wants to provide companies with concrete tools…

To determine their eco-strategies, companies need reliable indicators to allow them to assess their degree of circularity and its effects on the environment… But we are not restricting ourselves to simply developing guidelines. We want to provide companies with concrete steps. In the luxury goods industry, for example, focusing on use rather than on possession in a convenience-based approach constitutes a concrete step (luxury bags, shoes and clothing rental). The refill concept is another powerful lever, particularly in the perfume sector: Guerlain has caught onto this and the launch of their Guerlain Parfumeur depuis 1828 concept stores is testimony to this. In each store there is a customization workshop where it is possible to create a unique perfume bottle. A bottle that can be filled as desired, directly from a perfume fountain…