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Novamex – French leader of eco-friendly cleaning products for home and personal care

01/08/2008

  • Experts interviews

Michel Leuthy, Executive Director of Novamex, tells us about the key to success of this company of eco-labelled products.

Novamex: an eco-labelled success

  • Can you please describe your company in a few words?

Novamex is a French company that produces the Green Tree product range (L’ARBRE VERT in French), which are eco-certified by the European eco-label. The company, which employs 105 people, including 7 people in the field of Research and Development, aims to obtain customers among grocery retailers, cleaning professionals and local authorities. We have a 12 hectare production site with 30,000 m² of buildings, including 600 m² of laboratories.

In 2006, the Novamex Group had a turnover of 26.5 million euros. The Green Tree brand accounted for sales of almost 11 million euros that same year. The turnover from export is still minor.

Information about the market share of Novamex products in France and Europe

Year

GREEN TREE turnover (€)

Percentage of products displaying the eco-label

2004

2 023 000

10

2005

4 115 000

80

2006

10 798 000

95

2007

18 500 000

100

Between 2005 et 2006, the company doubled its market share on the dishwashing soap market. In 2006, the Green Tree sales accounted for 2% of the French market of dishwashing soaps sold by grocery retailers. That figure raises up to 4% if only concentrated dishwashing soaps are taken in consideration. The market of eco-friendly dishwasher soaps represents 8% of the French dishwashing soap market.

The market share of the Green Tree all surfaces liquid cleaner products went up from 0.6% in 2005 to 1.3% by the end of 2006.

Finally, the first Green Tree liquid laundry detergent that was launched in March 2006 obtained a market share of 1.1% after only 8 months. About 15 brands are present on this market in France.

  • What are the environmental benefits associated with l’Arbre Vert products?

The Green Tree products have been awarded the European eco-label and go beyond the criteria that it lays down. For instance, all surfactant and organic compounds (citric acid, bio-ethanol, etc.) used have organic origins (such as palm, coco, beetroot, corn, wheat, rapeseed, etc.). Perfumes, if there are any, are also of organic origin. Likewise, colourings are made out of foodstuff and our products are not tested on animals.

Furthermore, phosphates, phthalates, glycol ether, formaldehyde and formaldehyde precursors are not used in our products.

Wherever possible, our products are highly concentrated (for instance, 3 litres of our washing product can be used to do 40 laundries, whereas the same quantities of a traditional product usually wash 25 loads). This permits a reduction of packaging waste and transportation.

Finally, Green Tree products are designed and manufactured in France, which reduces the pollution that is generated during the products' transportation between the manufacturing sites and consumers. 

  • What policies should be implemented to accelerate the development of eco-friendly cleaning products?

In order to speed up the development of more eco-friendly cleaning products, labelling criteria should be developed for a greater number of them (vehicle range, sailing range, textile care and softeners and so on) to provide consumers with a larger choice of products. 

  • What does the future hold for Novamex?Do you think the implementation of REACH will have a positive impact on your activities?

The media coverage that REACH has received will allow users to realize the potential risks of some chemical compounds that can be found in the products they use on a daily basis. This will encourage them to pay more attention to products that are more respectful of the environment, which is a quality the ARBRE VERT products already have.

  • What advice would you give to consumers to help them become eco-friendly consumers?

I would advise consumers who are eager to pay attention to environmental matters while doing their shopping not to compare the price of products per litre or kilo they intend to buy, but to equate the price with the amount that is necessary for one use. Products that have been awarded the European eco label, and notably Green Tree products are extremely concentrated, they are among the cheapest on the market (per use), while also reducing packaging waste, transportation and energy consumption.

  • What kind of impact could the development of green public procurement have on your business?

Novamex has developed an exhaustive range of Green Tree products designed for local authorities. We hope that this initiative will help increase our sales in this sector. To date, the main part of our turnover comes from grocery retailers. We hope to develop our activities within the green public procurements sector, as we have noticed on several occasions that there is a strong demand for eco-friendly products from local authorities, as well as from tourist accommodations. Currently, we are trying to position ourselves on a market where many rivals already are. Our approach within the field of environmental protection is not opportunistic but applies to our whole company, and this is an advantage local authorities will take in consideration.

  • Does Novamex intend to diversify / develop its activities? In what fields do you see additional business and potential for development?

In the near future, we intend to develop Novamex’s activities in the field of cosmetics by launching eco-labelled shampoos and shower product ranges targeting a wide audience.

This initiative is the result of our wish to meet our customers’ expectations, who are eager not to damage the aquatic environment, and to use health-friendly products (non allergenic products for instance).

We hope to launch these new products beginning of 2008, and have faith that consumers will make this market to thrive.

Sources:

The Green Tree website http://www.arbrevert.fr/

For more information, please contact:

Géraldine Séjourné

Email: gsejourne@novamex.fr

Phone: +33 (0) 4 90 78 82 82

 

 


[1] Estimated turnover for 2007

The European eco label: the flower

The eco-label award scheme was launched in 1992to encourage the production and consumption of green products European-wide. The same Flower logo is used across different product groups and Member States, making it easier to recognise products with a superior environmental performance.Products that meet strict ecological and performance criteria are awarded the Flower logo.
More: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ecolabel/index_en.htm