Second Life

“Second Life” is a Decathlon project whose main aim is to reduce the number of items subject to recycling, implemented in cooperation with brand users.

Decathlon, as a leading sports retailer, operates with a large number of orders and occasionally encounters situations where an item has arrived from production with a minor defect, or where the customer has simply changed his or her mind. Then the product is returned to the store, becomes worthless and has to be disposed of. We thought that returns don’t have to end so sadly.

The vast majority of these items retain all their characteristics, want to be useful for sporting activities, but are bored and waiting for someone to take care of them: a backpack that’s a little bit shabby, a jumper where the seam has come apart, suspension trainer that has lost its packaging, a T-shirt that now lives without a label, a bike that has been waiting a long time for its owner in the showroom.

We at Decathlon think this is unfair. Because a scratch, for example, is no reason not to use bike or trekking poles and send them to a landfill, thereby having a negative impact on the environment. Everyone deserves a second chance, and so do sporting goods.

The project not only saves perfectly usable goods from destruction, but also reduces their production and makes their usage more sustainable. For example, no more resources are needed for transport and disposal, which reduces both costs and CO2 emissions.

As a responsible manufacturer and supplier, Decathlon is committed to effective resource management and methods of recycling waste and toxic substances. The launch of the project in Ukraine was the first step towards the company’s global goal of zero finished goods or their components ending up in landfill or incineration by 2026. In addition, Decathlon was one of the first companies to join the European Commission Green Consumption Pledge initiative to reduce the global carbon footprint, part of the European Climate Pact.


Decathlon has decided to launch the Second Life project, the idea of which is to return to the shelves slightly damaged goods that retain all their characteristics and are absolutely suitable for sports activities.

There is a discount of 10 to 50 per cent on these goods. These are not just second-hand products that are resold. These are really the goods that are given the Second Life:

  • they all have minimal purely aesthetic defects, such as a missing label or packaging, a small scratch or stain;

  • they are all carefully checked to ensure that they meet their technical specifications. All technical goods (bicycles, scooters, fitness equipment) undergo a mandatory inspection and repair before they are returned for sale;

  • Every product has a traditional Decathlon 2-year warranty and 365-day return policy (for “My Decathlon” loyalty programme members);

  • Goods that don’t meet Second Life requirements don’t go to landfill either. If appropriate, they are donated to charities or responsible recycling, where they are dismantled into components and recycled where possible.

The implementation of the project started at the beginning of 2021. For its implementation, a responsible manager from the company staff was selected to take over this area as an additional “mission” (in the company, most employees have additional “missions” besides the main work area, which cover up to 20% of working time). The manager was selected through an open competition among the company’s employees. The responsible manager also involved representatives of various departments of the company during the development and launch phase, in particular representatives of the supply department, finance, legal department, marketing department, store managers and the IT department.

Chronology of the project:

Stage 1. Search for a responsible manager and recruitment of a team – January 2021

Stage 2. Development of concept, mechanics and preparation (development of product selection criteria, checking and evaluation, pricing rules, placement on shop shelves, accounting and control mechanics) – February-April 2021

Stage 3. Test launch in one of the stores – May 2021

4th stage. Announcement in the company and in the media and full functioning in all stores of the chain – from June 2021

Time investment in project implementation: up to 20% of the responsible manager’s main working time and partial involvement of employees of other departments. At the stage of full functioning of the project, up to 10% of the responsible manager’s time is spent to support the project.

“Decathlon is aware that the company is part of a global process and has an impact on the environment. And through its responsible actions, it wants to minimise its negative impact on the environment. One way to do this is to develop a circular business model. Disposing of products with minor defects is one of the first and easiest issues we can tackle locally, directly in our stores. This solution has a positive effect for the company, for the environment, and for our consumers, who actually become participants in the project,” comments Anastasia Boiko, Leader of Sustainable Development at Decathlon Ukraine.

The main criteria for deciding on the project were:

  • Following the company’s global objectives of zero finished goods or their components ending up in landfill or incineration by 2026;

  • Operating on a permanent basis;

  • Ease of implementation;

  • Attracting moderate resources for its creation and maintenance;

  • Subsequent cost optimisation for the company thanks to the project;

  • Involvement of company representatives and users.

As a result of development and discussion a Second Life project idea that meets all of the above criteria was generated.

The biggest challenge during implementation was technical, namely the implementation of the stock delivery and write-off processes, as there was no ready solution for this. The solution was designed specifically for the project and is produced via the relevant control and accounting files.

A great advantage of the project was the low resources required for its implementation. Apart from the involvement of the company’s staff, the only additional cost was the creation of communication materials for the stores – together up to 16000 UAH (up to 4000 UAH per store).


As of the end of November 2021, i.e. half a year of operation of the project, the following interim results can be summarised:

  1. The amount of unnecessary waste has been reduced. Retained and sold 90 items up to approximately 60 kilograms.

  2. Sales. Additional income is generated instead of having to pay for recycling. At the same time, customers are able to purchase technically sound goods at more favourable prices. The total amount of sales was 130244 UAH.

  3. Reach in the information space. The total coverage was about 200,000 contacts (thanks to publications in social networks, on the brand’s website and in the media)

This project has helped to establish the company’s position in the market as a responsible producer and supplier of goods, as evidenced by the positive feedback from users on social media, media interest, and demand for the products presented within the project (for example, the product shown on social media to visualise the project, was bought from the physical shop within 20 minutes of publication).

In the future, the company plans to expand the project in several ways:


  • to bring it online for the project omni-channel promotion and meet the request of users from all over Ukraine (because there is such a request);

  • to allocate the separate directions of the project (for example, giving a second life to children’s bicycles, given the problem of rapid growth of children).


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