Justine Frémy's New Entry

Justine Frémy's New Entry: A "Pesticide Residue Free" Label for Fruits and Vegetables promoting agroecology

Lille, FranceFrance
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

A "Pesticide Residue Free" Label promoting agroecology by adding value (economically and symbolically) to integrated productions which preserve the environment & the health of consumers. Each production will be certified thanks to a systematic analysis of pesticides residues & other contaminants.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could eat without any afterthought, knowing for sure that our food respects the environment, our health & the producer, while paying an affordable price?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Intensive agriculture is bad for the environment, does not provide healthy food and is not sustainable for small producers, but the products are affordable. Organic agriculture is good for the environment and provides healthy food but is too expensive for the majority of consumers, which creates inequalities. Whereas agroecology is a good alternative but there are not enough economic incentives nor visibility of these products for the consumers.

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

The Label Blanc will be given after a systematic analysis of pesticides' residues and other contaminants in the food, providing to everyone an accurate information, monitored and certified scientifically. The valorisation of the food quality (especially for the health of consumers) will be an asset for the producers to negociate higher prices, because it is a strong demand of consumers to get higher quality food. It also provides a clear distinction mark for the integrated production to distinguish it from conventional production. It informs consumers better with true transparency and traceability, and most of all, it allows to democratize high quality food at a fair price for everyone.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Paul is an apple producer trying to limit the use of pesticide in his exploitation by developing integrated agriculture, which takes extra time & extra money. His apples contain no pesticides’ residue, but Paul struggles to sell his apples at a good price because his neighbours who use a lot of pesticides sell the same apple variety at 0,50€/kg. With the « Label Blanc » certification, he’s now able to negotiate his apples at 0,80€/kg because he can prove their added value. He can now live better & develop his technics, knowing that his work will be valued. Mary, who’s pregnant, will buy Paul’s apples for 2€/kg in the store because they have no pesticides residu, compromising between regular apples (1,50€/kg) and organic apples (2,50€/kg).

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

-France is the 3rd country (after India and the USA) with the highest use of pesticides in agriculture. -The French government launched the "Plan Ecophyto" in 2008 with the objective of reducing the use of pesticide in agriculture by 50% by 2018, but it is not working, so they extended the delay to 2025. Now, the government tries to promote agroecology but with no incentive, and especially no economic opportunity to promote the agroecological products, it does not seem to work fast enough. -Scientists and doctors regularly warn us about the potentially disastrous effects of pesticides on our health & environment. -76% of French consumers are worried about the presence of pesticides residues in their food. -77% of the French consumers not buying organic food say the main reason is the high price of organic food. The "Label Blanc" will promote agroecology by meeting consumer needs.

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

In 2006, integrated agriculture represented only 0,3% of the French exploitations, which leaves a huge potential of improvement for this type of agriculture. The Label Blanc initiative intends to accelerate the pace of theses changes by providing economic incentives for the producers to improve their production technics, which might be replicated or absorbed by the government for example (as a part of their policy). The initiative would also bring the market towards better food quality by establishing new requirements, thus creating a dynamism towards better production modes.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We will develop the project thanks to our own fundings, bank loans, then with public subsidies & maybe crowdfunding because it's mainly a citizens' project for the citizens. Then, we will use the annual membership dues with the objective of being self sufficient in a few years.

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

Other labels already exist but they are mainly based on the production mode. Our label is specifically designed to promote agroecological products and it is based on the product itself and its inner qualities. We provide a systematic analysis of the product that is much stricter than the current legislation & provide the informations with a true transparency. Nowadays, consumers have no way to know what really is in their food in terms of pesticide residue because the only obligation is to be below the limits of legislation, but there are no systematic control so nobody really knows for sure.
Team

Founding Story

The first co-founder owns an organic shop & he found out that a lot of people would love to buy organic food,but they simply could not afford it. It made him realized how unequal the access of healthy food is. The second co-founder worked with producers and found out it was quite difficult for them to grow organic food even if they all wanted to (high technical constraints for low yields that are not economically sustainable). Both from consumers and producers' point of view, they each realized the same thing: organic agriculture is a great thing but it is not (yet) a mass solution to provide healthy food for all,but agreocology, on the contrary, might be.This is how the project started !

Team

The first founder works part-time (because he still owns his shop), he has the leading role, he is more responsible of the communication and the economical aspect (partnerships with consumers and distribution). He has a marketing background and he already created some businesses related to environmental issues. The second founder works full-time, she is responsible for the technical and scientific part (the creation of the certification itself), the partnerships with the producers and the laboratories, and the fundings. She has a public affairs and a sustainable development background, and she is now specialized in sustainable food systems. We both have an eye on producers and the consumers, which allows us to be really complementary. We would like to create a real synergy by inviting all the actors of the food system concerned by pesticides residues and a more sustainable agroecology (consumers, producers, laboratories, government representative, distribution representative, environment militants, doctors...) to join us in a reflexion committee in order to create the best label for everyone. We would also like to have an agronomist to join us, in order to create real partnerships with producers, and truly help them improving their agroecological techniques.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Ashoka

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-founder, project manager

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

The other co-founder owns an organic store since 2008, and before that, he created a business producing organic cosmetics. He has a solid experience of entrepreneurship which is useful for the communication, the research of partners and the knowledge of market.
In his organic shop, we already tried to sell "Pesticide Residue Free" apples at 2€/kg against organic apples at 2,50€/kg. We managed to get almost half of the consumers to buy the "Pesticide Residue Free" apples instead of organic apples, which proved us the potential of the initiative and decided us to really start the project in September 2015.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are working with some selected laboratories in order to improve the Label Blanc repository and specifications at a scientific level.
We also work with producers in order to create the best conditions of the partnership for them.
We also work with CERTIA (a regional association helping initiatives in the food sector) and NSL (Nutrition Santé Longévité, also helping regional initiatives).
We also have contacts with some associations specialized in environment or pesticides, such as "Générations Futures" in order to create a potential partnership.
And finally we work with the regional "MIN" (Market of national interest) where the main regional wholesalers propose their products in order to create partnerships with them to sell the "Label Blanc" certified products.