[FOCUS ENTREPRISE] Pic Bois: saving and protect wood resources through complementary initiatives

Pic Bois manufactures tourist signage and leisure furniture for leisure parks, ski resorts and hiking trails.

The company was created in 1990 based on a wood engraving process, and its activity has evolved has tourism in France has become more professional.

Pic Bois works today with other materials and has several activities: graphic design, technical studies, manufacturing and installation of equipment.

Pic Bois takes into account environmental issues both in its offering and in the way its various workshops operate. This is reflected in the application of circular economy principles, a preference for proximity and commitment to sustainable forest management. Pic Bois won the 2016 Entreprise & Environnement award, given by the French Ministry of the Environment and ADEME, in the category of sustainable development in the company.

Issues central to the concerns of the company and its customers

The desire to work with wood while preserving it as a resource is a result of personal convictions. The various initiatives tending towards environmental protection are made easier because they are consistent with the way the products operate. Equipment ordered by local authorities is often used to discover and promote sensitive natural areas, landscapes and heritage sites. It makes sense to talk about nature in ways that are respectful of it.  

Complementary initiatives to save and protect the resource

As the company grew, proximity and local manufacturing were preferred to centralized activities. Different Pic Bois workshops were therefore opened. This makes it possible to limit transport. As part of a move to save resources, several workshops use the wood waste they produce for heating. This is made easier by the increasing use of untreated wood.

Since 2008 an eco-designed range named Furca has been available. It is made with local, untreated, naturally resistant wood. Manufacturing generates little waste and end-of-life management is facilitated.

In addition, a rating system for different materials and processes has been developed to allow customers to clearly see that the products demonstrate respect for the environment, are vandal-proof and UV resistant. This system gets customers to include environmental considerations in their order.

The environmental management system set up by Pic Bois to reduce its environmental impact has been certified according to the criteria of standard ISO 14001. The company has also obtained PEFC certification. The PEFC inspection line ensures traceability of the wood from the forest to the finished product. It certifies respect for the environmental, societal and economic functions of the forest, i.e. that its renewal, biodiversity conservation, soil and water, and shared uses are all respected (logging, recreation, carbon sinks).

The role of standards and transparency

Transparency is an important part of Pic Bois's approach and the desire to make consumers’ actions meaningful. This involves communicating about the activity, including the difficulties encountered.

Standards make this transparency possible and are also a way to professionalize the company’s initiatives, and not just make statements. They certify the commitments made via measurable and controllable criteria, certified by audits.

Respecting a standard such as PEFC allowing the wood to be traced is certainly inconvenient, but it is above all a lever to enhance Pic Bois’ commitments and encourage the company to go further. At the moment it is not possible to use 100% certified wood. The goal of working with 70% PEFC wood has been achieved, however, and some products can now be PEFC marked. In addition, certification has an incentive effect on suppliers: they must also make commitments if they want to be able to work with a certified company.

A position that challenges and stands out

Consideration of environmental issues and the application of circular economy principles are sometimes hampered by the experimental aspect of the initiatives. This is because there is not always a model to draw on. It is also about getting other people, such as suppliers or insurers, to make commitments. A balance needs to be struck between respecting the imperatives of any company, such as keeping to deadlines, and implementing eco-responsible actions. However, these initiatives are not perceived as constraints but as the opportunity to bring together ecology, economies and technical efficiency.

Through its various projects, Pic Bois innovates, reduces certain costs, enjoys an improved image and a competitive advantage while reducing its environmental impact. It sets itself apart from other companies in the sector by being the only one to be PEFC certified and to have developed an eco-designed range.

In addition, innovative approaches to environmental protection bring together people who share the same values and who learn from each other. For example, along with an ecosystem of stakeholders Pic Bois is currently developing a new range of eco-designed furniture designed for private individuals. This range will be made from recycled materials and the furniture will be upgradable with a view to extending its service life.

For more information:

Photo credits  PIC BOIS 

Source: ECLAIRA - Newsletter No. 11 / July 2018

Read and download the ECLAIRA Newsletter No. 11

Newsletter edited by CIRIDD with support from Région Auvergne - Rhône-Alpes

Moderated by : Traduction Birdwell

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