Where solidarity meets the circular economy

Jean-Pierre Nemoz, a business development director at VINCI Energies, is convinced of the need to take action at local level for the environment and for the less well off. He has been involved in Val'trions, a charity supported by the VINCI Foundation, since 2012.

The idea of setting up Val’Trions, a charity that encourages the reuse of objects considered to be waste so as to give them a second life and limit wastage, was devised by the sustainable development advisory committee of the town of Vaugneray, eastern France. Officially launched in 2016, the charity is made up of various thrift stores, which manage the recovery, reuse and resale of goods. Val’trions and its stores aim not only to promote the circular economy but also to support the development of the local social and solidarity economy by mixing teams of volunteers and people re-entering the workforce.

Jean-Pierre Nemoz, a business development director at VINCI Energies, was one of the founding members of Val’Trions:“Our goal was to encourage people to provide objects that didn’t work anymore or that they no longer had any use for, then to repair them and sell them on in our shops. The proceeds go towards supporting the charity and are reinvested in new thrift stores.” According to Jean-Pierre, this challenge is a continuation of his job: “When I identify businesses likely to be acquired by VINCI Energies, I ensure that they are in line with our values, solidarity being the most important one for me.”

An employee of the VINCI Group for most of his career, Jean-Pierre is in regular contact with the VINCI Foundation. At his request the Foundation, for which he is a mentor, decided to contribute to the Val’trions project by funding the purchase of a new low emission vehicle for travel to Lyon and neighbouring municipalities, which are subject to low emission zone restrictions.

Since the official launch of the project, the charity has expanded and currently comprises six thrift stores in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The results are surprising: “70% of the products we receive are repaired, and the remaining 30% are reused. Most of the products are textiles,” says Jean-Pierre. A few months ago the charity members decided to go one step further, and are planning the construction of a building intended to house people in work integration programmes and people with disabilities, a project in which the Vallons du Lyonnais joint local authority (CCVL) is also involved.

For Jean-Pierre, an employee who is highly committed to initiatives to protect the environment and help the vulnerable, the experience at Val’trions is very rewarding. Not only does the charity enable him to take tangible action that aligns with his values but it also provides an opportunity to learn how to get volunteers and charity employees to work together, and to make his professional skills available to the local community.