ENVIE 2e NORD, a social integration eco-company

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ENVIE 2e NORD, a social integration eco-company: Pioneer and major actor in the treatment of electrical waste

Project Stage:
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

ENVIE 2e Nord is a prime example of a successful sustainable development model. The social enterprise is a pillar of the circular economy through its work in the recycling of electrical waste. The company aims to reintegrate and employ struggling men and women and preserve the environment by preventing waste burial and incineration. The company also contributes to the reindustrialisation of the region by the recovery of a Brownfield site.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In 2005, ENVIE 2e Nord tackled several issues: the industrial site SELNOR in Lesquin-Lille was abandoned following the closure of a global manufacturer of household appliances; employees shifted into unemployment and exclusion; a growing need of training for low-qualified employees emerged; the air and ground pollution increased due to the absence of electrical and electronic waste-treatment (WEEE) resulting in their incineration and burial; a large and growing volume of such waste (21Kg produced per person per year) became in dire need of efficient and innovative technological processes (recycling of high value materials)

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In 2005, in addition to its social insertion activity, VITAMINE T Group created an electrical and electronic equipment waste-collection and recovery scheme in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France. In order to do this, the VITAMINE T Group created a joint venture with the VAN GANSEWINKEL Group, the European expert in the decontamination of refrigerating devices. An intelligent disposal unit worth 3 million Euros was installed in the Lesquin site. This unit crushes, sorts and separates the high-value components of refrigerating devices. The alliance between the two groups has resulted in the creation of ENVIE 2e Nord. The company currently employs 220 people every year and generates 12 million Euros in revenue.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

ENVIE 2e Nord differentiates itself on several aspects: - Social aspect: supports and trains long-term unemployed people to hold promising jobs. - Ecological aspect: provides a controlled decontamination (barium, lead, PCB, mercury, gases, oils), material and energy recovery (ferrous and non ferrous metals, plastics, foams, electronic cards, etc.) - Territorial aspect: reindustrialises (post-decontamination) a brownstone site and re-hires its former employees.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

ENVIE 2e Nord’s strategy to maintain its leadership position is to: - Pilot research and development projects to anticipate technological evolutions (for example: 2 patents filed and 1 million Euros invested into MEDUSA, a R&D program aiming to treat out-of-use flat screens) - Diversify its waste treatment activities (end-of-life vehicles, furnishing waste, railroad dismantlement, etc.) in order to identify new growth vectors. - Cultivate and adapt its model of circular economy to other regions.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

ENVIE 2e Nord is pioneer in this sector. Once market was proved viable, it attracted multiple actors of various sizes (major European groups such as Veolia, Suez Environnement, Derichebourg; Mid-caps; SMEs; etc.) Our added value lies on two aspects: - Obtain the highest material recovery possible through continuous research (90% of the WEEE is currently recycled) - Maintain the social impact of the process (social insertion of people in difficulty). All the processes are adopted according to their ability to integrate manual stations accessible to first-level qualification.


Both partners’ teams work closely together at all levels (managers, engineers, safety managers, team leaders, dismantling staff) to optimise the quality-of-service and satisfy the customers’ growing demands. The VAN GANSEWINKEL Group is involved in the social activity of ENVIE 2e Nord by recruiting, if possible, ENVIE 2e Nord employees who complete their insertion process. Joint decisions are validated in quarterly management boards.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

Social Enterprise

Total Number of Full-Time Employees

2700 employees (1050 full-time)

Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name






Twitter URL


Organization Name


Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



CEO Coolrec France



Twitter URL


Organization Website
Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact


Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact


Select the category that best fits the type of your project:

Job Creation: Entries in this category create new jobs for people away from the labor market.

What awards or honors has the project received?


Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1 Groupe VITAMINE T
-Type of partner [business/social/public] social
-Short description sentence [Max 25 words/partner]Groupe VITAMINE T is the French leader of work integration social enterprises and it currently manages 12 structures (circular economy, services, 3000 employees, 47 million Euros of revenue).
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]The development of a new activity, the creation of jobs and training opportunities in new trades pertaining to the green economy.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]Groupe VITAMINE T contributes its experience in the reintegration of people in social difficulty as well as its expertise in the recycling of household appliances.

-Partner 2 Groupe VAN GANSEWINKEL
-Type of partners [business/social/public]Business
-Short description sentence [Max 25 words/partner]The Group is the European leader in waste treatment. It employs 7500 people and has revenue of 1.2 billion Euros.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]The Group has partnered with Groupe VITAMINE T to establish and develop its activity in France.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]The Group brings its technological expertise in the treatment of refrigerating devices, a major technological element in the treatment of electrical waste.


Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

ENVIE 2e Nord has:
- Created 220 jobs (permanent and for social rehabilitation)
- Re-hired 70 former "SELNOR employees"
- Encouraged the hire of 60% of employees by traditional companies following an inclusion process
- Increased the employability of all employees during their inclusion process (transfer of technical and interpersonal skills, solving of social issues such as housing, health, mobility, etc.)
- Collected and treated 100 000 tons of WEEE since its creation
- Obtained a 90% recovery (reuse, material and energy recovery)

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Businesses, National government, Customers, Loans, Investments.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

ENVIE 2e Nord relies on a strong economic model:
- On the one hand, a service of collection and treatment of electrical waste financed by the eco-organisations in charge of the coordination of these recycling channels. These services are financed by the eco-contribution paid by each consumer that acquires new household appliances (refrigerator, freezer, washing machine, dish-washer, television, office equipment)
- On the other hand, the sale of secondary raw material to value creating channels (ferrous and non ferrous metals, plastics, foams, electronic cards, etc.). The plastics, steel, automobile and other industries reuse these products. The revenues climbed from €500 000 in 2006 to €12 million in 2013. Public funding represents only 5% of revenue and is allocated to support the social insertion of employees. For each €1 paid, €2.5 is remitted to the State in tax and contribution.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Although the activity began prior to the incorporation of European directive 2002/96/CE into national legislation, it is this legislative impulse that truly triggered it. The regulation obliges brokers (producers and distributors) to manage end-of-life electric and electronic appliances (extended producer responsibility). The European and French legislative evolutions have also led to the creation of activities such as the recycling of end-of-life vehicles and furnishing.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

Three main barriers:
- Investment capacity: Waste treatment is a highly capitalistic industrial activity. ENVIE 2e Nord broke that barrier down by partnering with the VAN GANSEWINKEL Group.
- Location: This industrial activity needs a minimum surface of 10000m2 that respects regulatory and environmental norms. Through the support of the local communities and Europe and after complete rehabilitation, ENVIE 2e Nord has been able to implement its activity in the SELNOR Brownfield.
- Skills: In 2004 the dismantling activity is new. By rehiring employees specialised in the conception and assembly of household appliances, ENVIE 2e Nord has been able to leverage valuable skill-sets.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

ENVIE 2e Nord is the first European joint venture between a social inclusion actor (VITAMINE T Group) and a traditional corporation (VAN GANSEWINKEL Group). Beyond the capitalistic links uniting both structures, the VAN GANSEWINKEL Group signed a shareholders’ agreement guaranteeing a zero return on capital and instead a reinvestment of profits in the development of ENVIE 2e Nord and in the subsequent job-creation for people in difficulty.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

This alliance has allowed the VITAMINE T Group to evolve, grow and become a true industrial actor. Its technological expertise is now known and recognised by all actors in the waste treatment industry. The partnership with the VAN GANSEWINKEL Group has triggered a prospective strategy for new possibilities in the circular economy. The alliance with VITAMINE T has allowed the VAN GANSEWINKEL Group to expand into the French market.

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