This gave them an opportunity to work with an existing business’ related challenge; study the reasons for the challenge and provide recommendations on how the organisation can overcome the challenges.
Decathlon Malaysia is a sporting goods retailer. The company sells a wide range of sporting goods, from bouldering gloves and tennis racquets to scuba diving gear, at low prices. Although sales are great, many customers return or exchange their purchased goods at the slightest opportunity, taking advantage of the return policy.
Although the root cause was from Decathlon’s customer policy, the project team decided that revocation or change of said policy would not be the best option as it does not leave consumers happy, nor make a change for the better in terms of environmental sustainability as items would still be thrown away. According to the web, almost 50% of wastes contribute to landfill in each country, causing soil components to be toxic and taking up precious amount of space at an alarming rate (Deer 2021). Therefore, the project team came up with the idea of breathing life into returned products; to make a little more profit, but most importantly to save the planet by reducing waste as responsible human beings.
The Second Life project is a sustainability initiative was proposed to inspire positive change for the planet and its people. The project refurbishes Decathlon’s numerous returned products and resells them at a discounted price. This not only reduces waste and puts the company on the map towards sustainability, as it can simultaneously improve Decathlon’s net profit figures. However, this project was not rolled out in Malaysia due to customers’ perception on purchasing “used” goods.
The team conducted quality-controlled surveys, to determine the readiness of the target market for the Second Life project. The team presented a comprehensive business plan in June 2021 to the management of Decathlon Malaysia to address the sports retailer’s waste problem whilst enhancing the accessibility of sports to the general public.
According to the latest financial projections by the team, there is an estimated 51% profit margin over the next 3 years. Not a bad figure for resold products. The non-financial benefits of the project far outweigh the financials, as a good corporate image to all parties including the public can make a vast difference in business performance. A sustainability initiative as big as this is bound to catch the attention of environment-wary customers, bringing in more customer traffic to stores. This way, indirect word-of-mouth or social media marketing will enable this initiative to grow.
Too much is thrown away these days, instead of repaired or reused. With all the unnecessary
waste created from disposals, Team Virtuous Victorians made it their objective to reduce Decathlon’s impact on the planet and breathe a second life into lightly marked sports equipment.