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Can we truly make the home a positive place to live if we don’t also take care of our common home, the planet? Aware of their social and environmental responsibility (CSR), ADEO companies decided to explore the behaviours and expectations of inhabitants with regard to these issues. At a time when the effects of climate disruption are increasingly evident, it is the environmental question in particular that held the attention of the Customer Insights teams in the results of their study on the impact of CSR with consumers. How do the latter deal with the necessary changes in habits, both in their personal lives and in their home improvement projects? How do we encourage them down this path? Here are some of the answers provided by the study.

The lives and homes of 90 households under the microscope

ADEO’s “CSR Impact” study aims to help us anticipate and measure the behaviours of consumers in relation to CSR, as much in their every day lives as in their interior design projects, big or small. Conducted simultaneously in 10 countries between March and November 2022, this study was carried out in 3 phases, with an initial phase of “social listening” to examine spontaneous conversations on the topic, followed by a qualitative and ethnographic phase that involved visiting inhabitants in 90 households, and finally a quantitative survey via a questionnaire addressed to more than 8,000 people, based on a representative sample of the population in each country. This article is based on the first two phases of the study.


4 steps to adopting ethical behaviours in every day life


When we address the topic of CSR with inhabitants, their primary perception is fairly vague. They mainly identify the environmental aspect of this issue, about which they express concern. When we then look at their personal progression and the changes they’ve already made in their habits, often, they still have difficulty in identifying them, because the small actions quickly become part of their daily routines. This overall lack of clarity, as much about the actions themselves as their real impact, can lead to a sort of despondency on their part. Which is why it is so important to dig deeper, to see how we can support them…


When we look more closely at how inhabitants progress on these issues in their every day lives, we recognise 4 key stages. First of all, they take small practical actions, “quick wins”, which immediately procure a sense of ethicality: for example sorting waste, or shorter showers to reduce water consumption. They then extend these ad hoc eco-conscious behaviours to their daily routines. For instance, if they have already opted for organic produce, they will also choose cosmetic products that are more environmentally friendly. If they’ve already bought second-hand clothes, they will have the same reflex when it comes to changing their phones, and so on.


Then comes the third stage, with the realisation of what remains to be done to really change their entire lifestyle to become more eco-responsible. Inhabitants dive deeper into these questions and begin to consider changes that may involve giving up certain things (air travel, eating meat, etc.) and the loss of certain comforts, in order to be more in line with their values. Finally, a form of creative transformation takes place that allows inhabitants to take pleasure in challenging all their habits in terms of respect for the environment, and to take pride in it. This is the case with social customs such a sharing DIY tools, solidarity groups around zero waste, or activism on ecological issues.


Ambitions often scaled back during a home improvement project


When inhabitants engage in a home improvement project, it is primarily driven by a desire or a personal need, such as improving comfort or fitting out an additional bedroom for the birth of a new baby. Although the main focus is individual, inhabitants nevertheless include real ambitions in terms of eco-responsibility in their projects: in the beginning, when they draw up their plans, they want to “do things right”, according to high environmental standards.
But as the project progresses, we often see a scaling back of initial ambitions. And the reason for this: numerous constraints are gradually added to the mix at each stage, from the choice of suppliers and materials, to the costs of the latter, not to mention the constraints already inherent to their home or respect for the neighbourhood. The lack of knowledge, of information or even control (when work is carried out by artisans) often results in the sidelining of environmental issues, which in the end, are only really taken into account in 20% of projects. These issues often return to the forefront at the very end of the process, when it comes to the finishings and when the major work – and thus the mental load – has been dealt with.
How do we help inhabitants to be eco-responsible despite these difficulties?


Although a majority of inhabitants today are concerned with these environmental issues, not everyone has the same level of commitment. It is therefore the responsibility of ADEO companies to help them to be aligned with their ambitions in terms of eco-responsibility. To do this, there are 4 main areas of action, which tie in with their expectations vis-a-vis the brands.
First of all, this involves an offer of products and materials that are of higher quality in environmental terms, that is to say eco-designed, natural, recyclable, reparable and also, simply longer lasting.
We also need to be attentive to the transparency, the legibility and the visibility of information on these matters, to better inform and guide consumers: Leroy Merlin has been working on this aspect with the Home Index deployed in France.
We can also take action to improve the knowledge and know-how of inhabitants concerning sustainable renovation. This can be achieved by offering training, or even online tutorials.
Finally, the last area of action involves improving the circularity of products and materials to offer the opportunity to resell furniture or equipment, and globally to increasingly move towards more reuse and recycling. If today, second-hand materials are essentially bought by experienced do-it-yourselfers, younger ones often feel more assured with new items, yet consumers as a whole are receptive to the approach and its philosophy.

10 countries

involved in the

“CSR Impact” study


80% of respondents

confirm sorting their waste


only have already calculated

their carbon footprint

By 2030,

the European Union

must reduce its GHG emissions by 55%