PHENIX Elevator Pitch—its Origins, Target, and Goals
Fresh out of business school, I started my career in corporate banking. This did not last long as I quickly felt the need to find more meaning in my work.
This ultimately resulted in founding my first company with two partners, with the initial idea of taking on the household waste market—the world’s biggest source of waste and the source of about 38% of all food waste. However, we soon ran into regulatory issues, so we decided to gear ourselves towards B2B, which was easier for us to tackle, despite representing “just” 18% of food waste (including agro-food and retail).
Following several governance issues within the organization, my partner Baptiste Corval and I decided to continue the venture on our own—as the two “techies” from our original team—and that’s how PHENIX was born. We named it PHENIX because the company rose out of the ashes of the first. We think it’s important to tell entrepreneurs—and everyone else—that it’s always possible to get back up and keep moving forward. PHENIX also represents the meaning we want our offering to convey—giving a second life to products. It’s interesting to observe how our vision has evolved over time. From the initial goal of reducing food waste, we now aim to tackle waste in general and reduce trash.
Today, we work with large retailers, as well as the events industry, wholesalers, industrials, shopping malls, catering firms and many others.
PHENIX in key figures :
Key Figures & Objectives
At PHENIX, we are constantly on the lookout for new ways to recycle used products by establishing innovative circular economy circuits. In this way, PHENIX rescues 50 metric tons of products from the trash every day, enabling its partner organizations to redistribute 100,000 meals. After three years of operation, PHENIX now does business in 21 cities, supports over 850 clients (E.Leclerc, Casino, Franprix, Bricoman, Lapeyre, etc.) and employs 76 people in full-time positions.
We pursue our development along two main paths:
- The first involves expanding our services to cover other companies and sectors. Initially, our offer targeted large retailers exclusively, while it now covers local retail stores.
We also developed a line to recycle food from sports or corporate events, as well as non-food items during exhibitions (for example, at the Arab World Institute, where we saved items from being discarded at the end of the exhibition by donating them to recipients (associations, educational farms, art schools and artists). In this way, storefront windows, wooden structures and open paint cans found a second life.
In the long run, we plan to become the leading company for industrial waste management.
- Our second avenue for growth is internationalization. We opened up new markets in Spain and Portugal, where the tax incentives are similar to those in place in France, but also in Denmark, where these tax incentives are nonexistent. It’s interesting to see that the activity is not working in Denmark, which proves that the circular economy must be part of a profitable and economically viable model for it to be adopted by everyone and remain in operation.
How do you contribute to the CSR strategies of businesses?
Food waste is an environmental, ethical and economic challenge of global scale. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas, behind China and the United States! We estimate that one-third of food products go to waste from farm to table, while there is a dramatic loss of efficiency at every link in the distribution chain.
Working from this observation, PHENIX aims to support companies making their transition to the circular economy, by helping them recycle their waste.
We propose the following service: we collect unsold food products from retailers for redistribution in the form of meals, which enables retailers to reduce their waste-treatment costs by 40% and to benefit from tax allowances for 60% of the total value of food donated to associations. That means every company is sitting on substantial savings without realizing it. Everyone wins with this model—retailers, consumers and, of course, our planet.
Our first target market was large retail because that’s where food waste was most prevalent. But, in the long run, we aim to serve all types of companies seeking to carry out this transition, from agro-food SMEs that want to reuse extra biscuits cut into squares , to corporates facing rising waste-treatment costs.
Food waste is an environmental, ethical and economic challenge of global scale. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas, behind China and the United States!