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Case Study of Envie – France

Didier Chabanet and Patrick Gilormini, CEVIPOF, Sciences Po, Paris, France

Abstract: Envie is a national network of inclusion through employment companies specializing in the recycling and repair of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), especially household appliances. Each unit of the Envie network employs people on short-term integration contracts who are significantly far away from the labor market and train them so that they have a chance to find a stable job. This is the main social goal of Envie. Its economic activity consists in recovering WEEE from companies or individuals and then repairing, selling or recycling it. The network displays and sells the renovated products in nearly 45 stores under the Envie brand. The products are sold 50% cheaper than brand new ones, which allows relatively poor consumers to buy them. The stores also offer a full range of after-sales services such as delivery, warranty extensions, equipment loans and repairs. A turning point for ENVIE was the implementation of the European Directive that organizes the collection and treatment of electronic waste in each Member State. Its purpose is, as a first priority, the prevention of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and in addition, the re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes so as to reduce the disposal of waste. Since then, Envie has prepared the development of its network in order to cover progressively all the French territory. The future of Envie seems to be linked to its positioning as a mid-size enterprise between big private environmental utility operators as SUEZ, VEOLIA, NICOLLIN or local public authorities (Syndicat inter-communaux, metropoles), and small players ranging from SMEs to charities (Emmaüs, Notre Dame des Sans Abris, etc.) and informal waste recycling agents. Envie is 80% self-financed and 20 % of its resources fund comes from public money which is justified by a high supervising ratio required for workers in insertion contracts: Supervisors are engaged in personal, social and professional coaching activities for beneficiary workers. Workers average contract lasts 14 months which generate frequent selection and integration costs of newcomers. Absenteeism rate is 14%, which is twice as much as in traditional business. Today, the ENVIE network supports more than 1000 people with an integration contract. Years after years, between 50% and 60% of these workers have access to a stable employment or a skill training program leading to specific qualifications, which is a remarkable achievement given the sociological profile of this population.