French retailer Auchan has teamed up with Tissages de Charlieu to produce cloth bags from recycled fabric.
The initiative aims to create a circular economy in the textiles sector and fight plastic pollution.
Auchan sells approximately 17 million recycled plastic shopping bags in France each year, or the equivalent of 1,360 tonnes of plastic.
The retailer is committed to fighting against the proliferation of plastics and is actively involved in examining all sources of the material that can be eliminated from its operations.
The collaboration with tissages de Charlieu will see the retailer offer a shopping bag in recycled fabric, which will help in reducing its carbon footprint.
The product will be produced in France and will create new jobs, beginning with 10 initially, 60 in the coming months, and more than 95 by 2024.
It will also preserve the traditional know-how of Jacquard weaving while focusing on the modernisation of the industrial tool.
Auchan has offered a guarantee in volumes by committing to source these bags for five years, while Les Tissages de Charlieu has invested €22 million in various production equipment.
In the medium term, Tissages de Charlieu plans to integrate the entire production process to France to create a closed local production loop, from raw materials to the finished product.
The production of the shopping bags commenced on 27 May, and the first batch is scheduled to arrive in Auchan outlets by this fall.
In March, the company raised its cost savings goal under its so-called Renaissance revival plan, which boosted 2020 profitability at its retail arm despite the COVID-19 pandemic.