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EquipHotel Coffee-Debate : adopting a CSR approach

From November 6 to 9, during EquipHotel, Intramuros co-hosted coffee chats with the French furniture industry, on their stand called Interior Design Center. Topics related to the design of hospitality spaces, the change and development of the market were discussed. Read the summary of the November 8 discussion on CSR responsibility in a CHR project.

Seven professionals agreed to debate:
  • Marie Carcassonne, manager and founder of the company Dyn-amo
  • Thomas Delagarde, interior architect and designer, Thomas Delagarde studio
  • Thomas Garmier, CEO, the Great Hospitality
  • Maxime Legendre, Marketing & Sales Director, Evertree
  • Solenne Ojea-Devys, General Manager, Okko Hotels
  • Bérangère Tabutin, interior designer CFAI, studio BBonus
  • Léa Querrien, Project Manager, Valdelia

CSR in the hospitality industry: what are the findings?


A survey conducted prior to EquipHotel indicates that 94% of respondents are sensitive to a hotelier’s CSR positioning, and among 18-25 year olds, one out of two says that this has an impact on their booking choices. These figures speak for themselves and show the growing interest and commitment of our customers. But what about today for project leaders?

While the AGEC law (Anti-waste law for a circular economy) provides a framework for public worksites, Solenne Ojea-Devys, general manager of the Okko Hotels group, explains that there is no equivalent for private worksites. Therefore, in hotel projects, the follow-up of a CSR approach is more the result of the client’s will: “On the one hand, we want to show a good will in terms of CSR. On the other hand, our investors are looking to invest in greener buildings. And the ultimate goal on both sides is to successfully lower the cost of the bill.” However, on the question of furniture, she notes that it is still a “no-man’s-land which is not at all supervised and that decisions are thus made at the whim of the final decision-maker, namely the one who pays in the end.

An observation: attitudes that are evolving


It is important to be part of a CSR approach when responding to a call for tenders, because clients are increasingly attentive to this. However, this is not yet the key to winning. On the other hand, mentalities are undeniably evolving, and in addition to the explanation of an approach, there are also more and more structures and networks on which to rely in order to be part of a CSR dynamic. Marie Carcassonne thus testifies to the mission of the company Dyn-amo, at the service of owners, operators and designers to buy in the best possible conditions the furniture prescribed by the decorators: “Our Our role is a bit special because we act as a third party. We are not the ones who buy, prescribe or manufacture, we act in the chain as a third-party consultant.The company accompanies and proposes more responsible actions to the different actors involved in a CHR project.


Moreover, while some customers are still very reluctant to change, others are very willing and have ideas. Thomas Garmier, CEO of The Great Hospitality, agrees with this statement as a project leader: “CSR has become a global issue and those who have not understood this do not live in the same world as we do. We all have a responsibility and this responsibility is shared by all the actors of a project. More and more eco-organizations exist today and promote better waste management, second-hand furniture, the use of companies specializing in recycling materials … Innovations that are reflected in the concrete work of KoMuT, the company Krill Design or the Atelier Déambulons according to Thomas Garmier. These initiatives can be highlighted through the various communication channels that are multiple today, and especially on social networks.

How to convince the client to adopt a CSR approach?


It is necessary to explain, to inform, so that the customer feels involved. For Bérangère Tabutin, interior architect and member of the CFAI, who has managed various projects that are part of a CSR approach, the idea is to go as far as possible, and not stop at greenwashing: “The promoter needs to be able to communicate on the products and to know what we are talking about. On one of my last projects, we did a photo report on the progress of the project, visiting factories to show the client the actions taken. This allowed us to go beyond the 20% of recycled furniture. In order to raise awareness, the eco-organization Valdélia also acts by accompanying all the stakeholders in a development project. According to Léa Querrien, innovation project manager at Valdélia, this follow-up must be done as soon as possible: “You can’t consume and develop a space in a circular economy or simply responsibly by going about it overnight, you have to think about it upstream.”

Ecla student residence, Noisy-le-Grand, realized by Agence B Bonus © BB Bonus

Marie Carcassonne and the Dyn-Amo team have sent a questionnaire to all their suppliers in order to know what steps they have taken. “I think there’s a real market to be had, just by looking at the result of the questionnaire: only 10% of the suppliers we contacted provided an answer, not always usable.” How does Dyn-Amo go about its sourcing? “We do a lot of trial and error. We do active research by participating in trade shows, subscribing to newsletters to find out about new suppliers… explains Marie Carcassonne. In the professional world, networking is essential. The Pôle Action, an association created by the French Council of Interior Architecture (CFAI), of which Bérangère Tabutin is a member, allows for the exchange of information on practices, experiments, and material tests.

The role of the designer in the CSR process


Thomas Delagarde, interior architect and designer, who founded his studio in 2019, is in tune with this idea of working on projects upstream. In a recent project with Adagio, his focus was not on material resources, but rather on space planning: “We thought about how we inhabit the space, how we consume the furniture. The project was born from an observation: in an apartment of 4 people, only 2.4 are really there. So we have some excess furniture. With Adagio, I imagined multi-purpose modular furniture, available for the rooms, but also for the common areas. »

Modular furniture project, Thomas Delagarde with Adagio © Adagio
Modular furniture project, Thomas Delagarde with Adagio © Adagio

A lack of tools and methodologies


Lack of data on the results of actions, lack of analysis tools, training, multiplication of labels…Solenne Ojea-Devys deplores a nebulous vision of information, and a difficulty in quantifying and measuring the effects: We don’t have all the tools and answers yet, so we often have to make choices. The more concrete things we can measure, and the easier it is to communicate to the end customer, the more we can move forward. In view of the lack of information or the reluctance of some third parties, it is therefore necessary to set concrete objectives: We needto focus on a few specific actions so that the manufacturer or the customer can find their way around,”explains Marie Carcassonne. Thomas Garmier agrees with this idea, mentioning the importance of developing a relationship of trust between all the players in order to successfully complete a project. And it is by having this relationship that an ecosystem will be created.Maxime Legendre explains that at Evertree, their precursory quality has allowed them to create a status of referent that reassures. He concludes his remarks: It is by being a force of proposal that we manage to create a movement and a dynamic. You don’t usually want to be the first to start, but you don’t want to be the last either .”

Okko Hotels

Making the invisible visible


Beyond the fact of carrying out actions, making them perceptible to the greatest number is a work to be done on a larger scale. At Evertree in particular, Maxime Legendre explains that as a manufacturer of resin, a material that is “invisible” to the naked eye, the need to raise awareness about the visual results for health and air quality was an important point to consider in justifying their approach.


Another way to make it visible: environmental labeling. On this point, Marie Carcassonne took a training course with the FCBA in order to adapt it to her furniture and to communicate on this point with the manufacturer afterwards. However, this initiative is not without difficulty, since for catalog furniture, it is feasible but for custom furniture of small series, the manufacturer will have less interest in following these steps. Another interesting solution:Encourage small companies to get involved, as Bérangère Tabutin explains: “After convincing the client, you have to explain what you have found, what is interesting about the product in the long term. After convincing the customer, we have to explain what we have found, what is interesting in this product in the long term. »

A turning point not to be missed


If there is no strong legislative framework, no explicit information networks, which must be convinced, all participants insist that mentalities are changing. We must continue to be proactive in this field, at all levels, from buildings to development, from materials to reuse… And find the budgetary equations, even if it means rethinking the very notion of investment in a broader projection.

The final word will go to Bérangère Tabutin whose latest student campus project (Ecla Residence in Noisy-le-Grand), obtained during the first confinement, sums up the trend to be taken: “I answered this call for tenders by deciding to put everything I wanted in it: sustainable development, collective intelligence… And that’s what won it for me. In the last two years, I have learned a lot and met a lot of people. It is a subject on which one quickly becomes a driving force. So go for it, it’s time!
Maïa Pois