10 March 2023

Eurobois File: For ABC, eco-awareness is only common sense!


 For ABC, eco-awareness is only common sense!


For ABC director Vincent Duchateau, eco-awareness is a responsible attitude based on frugality and the upholding of biodiversity. Although many industrial companies have climbed aboard the meaningful transformations train, he reckons there’s plenty left to do on the customer side.



Purchases are an important lever in a fitting out company’s eco-initiatives. What are your practices in this area?
We privilege French as well as European stakeholders who have verifiably obtained certificates and labels, notably for boards, which are omnipresent in fitting out and have a big environmental impact. For the timber material, we prioritize species from our own region: oak, larch, spruce, and others. For exotic species, this year we have stopped purchasing Cumaru, a Brazilian timber that one of our customers insisted on but is being cut down to leave room for soya cultivation and “scattering the indians”. If we need that kind of timber, we bring in African Redwood, which is farmed much more responsibly.

You are also involved in other actions to make your output more eco-affirmative
For series production, in 2002, spurred on by our customer SNCF, we began designing packaging that could be re-used at least 5 times then recycled. We looked into decreasing or extracting value from our material wastage. We made an arrangement with Suez Environment, whereby they take charge of and monetize our waste—wood offcuts, shavings, sawdust for making pellets, recycling of boxes, also steel and aluminium.  
Last but not least, we have worked together with CARSAT on improving working conditions, eliminating varnishes that could be a toxic hazard for employees. It's an ethical effort linked to personal values, which is comforting but comes at a cost and requires a good deal of self-reappraisal.

And what about the customers, is there movement on that front too?
Apart from SNCF, who are very eco-minded, our customers aren’t much of a force. It’s worth noting that ABC does a lot of work with hotels and luxury residences, whose expectations are focused elsewhere. Whenever I get the chance, I try to raise their awareness. On our invoices, we routinely add an eco-participation fee—it's a first step in a more massive transformation of our practices, which can also happen under the impulsion of our clients. The “reckless” consumption society isn’t dead yet. We have to change our habits to achieve more frugality. 

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