“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed" when the Opinel knives are produced.
This quote from Lavoisier reflects the environmental approach we have implemented at Opinel and that sprang from our desire to reduce our impact on the environment and to manufacture sustainable products. We have adopted eco-friendly production processes by using recyclable materials, sorting waste, using cardboard packaging with green inks, and working primarily with local suppliers to reduce pollution from transport. We have also shown our commitment by collaborating with companies and associations whose causes we hold dear.
The choice of materials
Our knives are mostly made of wood and steel. These materials are strong and durable.
Steel is an infinitely recyclable material, and doesn't lose its properties in the process.
Beech wood, which is Opinel's wood of choice, has excellent mechanical strength. Additionally, we mainly source our supplies from certified companies, and 95% of the wood comes from eco-managed French farms.
An essentially French supply
Because reducing our impact on the environment is so important to us, we work mainly with French suppliers and have always done so.
Today, 50% of our suppliers are located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and 80% in France overall. This enables us to really limit the pollution we generate through transport.
We try to waste as little as possible in our manufacturing process.
We regulate the burning of the wood chips after shaping the handles, the energy released by the air compressors, and the heating used for the workshops and offices.
Furthermore, we work with specialized outside firms to verify that we comply with regulatory requirements. This means that air, water, dust and noise emissions, as well as energy consumption and waste, are measured regularly.
We also sort our waste. Our paper, cardboard, wood, scrap metal, scrap steel and plastic are 100% recycled or reclaimed.
Our release rate into water is 0%, and we use 100% energy-saving light bulbs.
The handles in our Atelier collection are made from scrap wood, which enables us to make full use of our materials and combat waste.
As for packaging, we have been using cardboard packaging with green inks for many years. Its design optimizes the cardboard surface used. We also sell products without individual packaging in batches of 6 or 12. This currently represents 50% of our sales volume.
We sell sustainable products, which are passed down from generation to generation.
Thanks to the materials we use and the quality of their manufacture, Opinel products are robust and can be used for many years.
This means all our items are guaranteed for life and will be exchanged should there be any manufacturing defect(s).
As part of this sustainable approach, we have a knife sharpening service to extend their use, as well as a repair service to replace components.
Our pocket knife is therefore as far as you can get from disposable, and has established itself as a symbol of the movement against using plastic cutlery. It's easy to take with you, so you can use it anywhere, on a picnic for example. We also offer a nomad cooking kit, so you can cook anywhere outside your home.
Our products represent our values and our commitments. The Le Petit Chef box is a good example: it emphasizes the importance of passing things on, and encourages parents to cook with their children, and to introduce them to home-made food, using fresh, healthy produce.
Environmental commitments above and beyond production
Our commitments do not end with production.
In 2020, as part of a partnership with the company Dvélos in Chambéry, we got five electric cycles for our staff to use freely in order to promote physical activity and counteract a sedentary lifestyle, as well as to help reduce pollution in the Chambérien basin.
In 2021, we installed an electric vehicle charging station in our car park so that employees could recharge their cars and thus encourage use of this kind of energy.
We work with several companies and events that are also committed to protecting the environment.
We have been collaborating with the company Pollinium since 2016. The latter has set up four beehives at on our site in Chambéry, and is supporting us with our environmental approach by demonstrating the importance of the role of bees in preserving biodiversity. This means the bees produce honey while enjoying the trees near our workshops. This collaboration is a nod to Joseph Opinel, who was an amateur beekeeper.
We have also partnered with the Under the Pole underwater explorations. These aim to raise awareness of the oceans and understand their role in climate balance better so that we can progress towards a more sustainable world and respond to ecological challenges.
We are also a partner of the Ocean Peak association who combine their passion for the sea and the mountains by organising expeditions. They offer corporate and environmental experiences, mainly by inviting scientists along during their expeditions.
We also support the Sylv'ACCTES association who are active in preserving our forest heritage. They are particularly known for launching the J’aime ma forêt project to help finance the replanting of forests in the Bauges, Chartreuse and Mont Blanc massifs.