Marché Mélanie opened with a strong ambition to reach their expected sales goals. The owner, Mélanie Dubé, learned quickly that ordering for the amount you would like to sell instead of matching current sales caused an immense waste problem. Having learned this lesson the hard way, they moved towards ways to operate their business in order to meet SDG goals. They have put an emphasis on responsible consumption and production by developing strategies to lessen their waste and found partnerships with fellow companies to manage their waste. In effect, they are working towards having affordable and clean energy, creating a sustainable community, and taking climate action.
Marché Mélanie enforced an entirely new process when it comes to proper consumption and waste management. After experiencing a lot of waste in their product, it was time for them to change their ways. In order to help better consumption, they changed their order amounts, took part in training, and found community partnerships that could assist them along the way. In the interview with the owner, Mélanie explained just exactly the new process they now take part in. “We decided to keep back store inventory very low so that way everything we receive can be put out on the shelves immediately. We also started a strict product rotation system that all employees were trained on. We found ways to provide local community food banks with food from our shelves that were close to expiration. Created a partnership with Food Hero, a mobile app that allows us to list food that may expire soon for lower prices to bring in more customers. Our final step was being aware of this. Pounds of garbage we throw away and ensure to put an emphasis on composting and recycling.”
By doing this they have been able to reduce their consumption enormously and have found that it has had a positive impact on their sales. Mélanie has expressed how she believes that through this they have been able to reach their goal of having responsible consumption and production but that it is a constant work in progress for them to perfect it. Through this, they were inspired to work on reaching other SDG goals. They have changed all their fridges to CO2 operating which has helped them increase their efficiency in energy, helping them towards the goal of affordable and clean energies.
At the beginning of IGA Marché Mélanie’s operation, the organization was proactive in ordering a lot of goods to attract as many customers as possible. However, it also meant there were a lot of products that were dumped. That became a concern for one of the executive members at IGA Marché Mélanie. The organization’s HR Director Vanessa Boisjoli, who is a pro-sustainable activist, recognized that there is a problem in the waste management process, as 57% of meats and 49% of fruits and vegetables were thrown away in just three weeks. That was when the idea of a new waste management process came in.
The HR Director was proactively in charge of the project and helped the organization turn the new waste management process into a core value. The biggest motivation of the innovation came from noticing how much they were throwing away and the team’s strong desire to focus more on proper consumption rather than just raising sales. Vanessa was thrilled to educate IGA Marché Mélanie’s employees on one of the UN’s SDGs - Responsible consumption and production. The HR Director and Mélanie also talked about a sense of belonging and partnering, and that it was significant to do something meaningful for the community. Therefore, IGA Marché Mélanie found a way to be sustainable and to raise the awareness of responsible consumption and production without losing profit.
After the implementation of the new process, the business saw a significant diminution of fresh-produce waste. For instance, 57% of wasted meat on average in the first week had gone down to 21% in week 7. Moreover, Marché Mélanie partnered with Première Moisson. Through this partnership, Marché Mélanie was able to get food out and give them to shelters. On top of that, IGA Marché Mélanie also used compost bins which could generate less garbage, and after 2 months, Marché Mélanie successfully changed the scheduled garbage container removal to month as opposed to weekly. In the long term effects, as Marché Mélanie is becoming more and more sustainable day after day, it will create a sense of loyalty with their customers, especially the young generations who value environmental sustainability. The customers could see that IGA Marché Mélanie was fully committed to responsible production and consumption, which could eventually increase the number of returning customers. IGA Marché Mélanie is invited by Sobeys to share the company’s story with the hope to inspire others to take the plunge in supporting the UN's goals.
Since their implementation of SDG initiatives, Marché Mélanie has observed business benefits and has witnessed societal and environmental gains as a result of their efforts. In the interview, Mélanie described the increased sense of purpose experienced by the company, stating “It has brought all of us together towards a common goal,”. By implementing sustainability initiatives into the company process, Marché Mélanie has established a sense of community and within the business, increasing their commitment to attaining shared sustainability aspirations. As they continue to strive towards SDG achievement and increased environmental sustainability, the business itself is becoming more financially sustainable in conjunction. By reducing their total waste by 21% and limiting production to fit consumer demand, the company has seen a significant reduction of costs. In terms of monetary benefit, the company has seen financial margins increase by 17%. This improvement could also be credited to a suspected surge in customer loyalty since the implementation of SDG initiatives. Mélanie described her customer base as fairly young individuals who value the company’s sustainability efforts. The customers themselves are also experiencing benefits; company waste reduction has resulted in fresher produce.
In addition, the SDG ambitions of Marché Mélanie have also resulted in societal benefits. This can be seen through the company’s support of community banks and involvement with FoodHero. As described on their website, “FoodHero is an app that connects food merchants to consumers to quickly sell surplus fresh food that would otherwise end up in the trash,”. This of course, also promotes environmental benefits. As stated on the FoodHero website, 40% of food produced is never consumed. Marché Mélanie’s contribution to the improvement of this issue is aiding in environmental sustainability improvement efforts. Another environmental initiative that the company practices is their eradication of plastic bags store-wide. This positively impacts many environmental causes such as wildlife protection, seeing as over 100,000 marine animals and 1,000,000 seabirds die from the consumption of plastic bags on the ocean's surface every year.
In conclusion, through their contribution to the attainment of SDG’s such as responsible consumption and production, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, and partnerships for the goal, Marché Mélanie has experienced business benefits and has witnessed positive societal and environmental impacts. As a result of their innovation, the business has fostered a sense of purpose and commitment to a greater cause. Their mission promotes production sustainability and attracts customers with a shared vision for the future. If all businesses incorporated similar initiatives into their structure and processes, progress towards SDG achievement would increase substantially.
Mélanie Dubé, President and Owner
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Montreal, Québec, CA
Year Founded: 2020
Number of Employees: 51 to 200
Marché Mélanie is an urban grocery store that was opened on November 5th, 2020 in Montréal Québec. The owner and President, Mélanie Dubé, wanted to provide a high-end grocery store feel while putting an emphasis on sustainability. However, being the first of hopefully a chain of grocery stores for Mélanie, problems arose that brought light to consumption issues that occur in the grocery business. Mélanie and her HR director, Vanessa Boisjoli, decided it was time to rethink their waste management process after three consecutive weeks of immense waste being produced.