Sustainable Innovation

ADN orchestrates non-food surplus donation to French charities

The ‘Agence de Don et Nature’ (ADN) has become thé intermediary trusted partner between donating enterprises and certified associations in France. Enterprises can donate their unsold goods for the good cause, reassured that items will not be resold. Associations are happy to receive goods against a small financial compensation.. A promising new organisation in France based on a not-for-profit principle inspired by Gifts in Kind International (1).


Stéphanie Goujon, Chief Executive Agence de Don et Nature

Yearly, 400 million euro non-food goods are being destroyed in France (Study AT Kearney Office 2009). Companies are searching for proper destinations of their industrial surplus, but want to be guaranteed that the items are not being resold for legal reasons. They also want to be reassured that the associations that can be trusted. How to find these NGO’s ?

8 million French people live below the poverty line having less than 30 euro per year to spend (study of INSEE in 2009). A few hundred NGOs and Associations are supporting these people in France. NGO’s need money for their activities, but as well.. office furniture, paper, clothes, cleaning products, and so on. Where to find the generous companies that could help them out ?

Organisation Agence du Don en Nature

‘Agence du Don en Nature’ was created in April by a group of French social entrepreneurs, supported by the foundations of Carrefour, l’Oréal and Leyton & Associés, inspired by the American ‘Gifts in Kind International’. It has quickly become known in France as the intermediary logistics organisation, not-for-profit, that matches the needs of charities and offer of non-sold items of enterprises.

AND is run by CEO Stéphanie Goujon. Mrs Goujon has a background in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector (P&G, Danone and Unilever). She works in close cooperation with a team of highly qualified volunteers of different backgrounds like private equity, supply chain, HR and Internet.

It became soon obvious that ADN would need a place to store the goods of donating enterprises at a secure place and not too far from Paris where most associations are located. With help of partners Groupe SOS and Fairplace, ADN found a storage of 4000m2 and 5000 palets in Chambly-sur-Oise which is just 30 minutes by car from Paris Gare du Nord.

Agence Don et Nature warehouse of 4000 m2 a Chambly-sur-Oise (60)

Since the start in 2009, already 20 corporate and 38 charity partners have signed up. Last year, products with a value of 6,4 million euro have collected, 2,4 million euros in products have been donated, and between 50,000 and 100,000 people have received the goods via the charities in France.

Benefits for the partner associations

If associations needed clothes, paper or shampoo in earlier times, they were counting on personal relationships between founding partners and enterprise directors. It these relationships resulted in the supply of some goods, the better. Unfortunately, often the right product could not be found, had been already send to the landfill. Or contacts within the enterprises were lacking at all.

ADN allows associations to express their needs for specific products and does all efforts to match this need with the offer of non-sold items from the donating companies. An online product catalogue is available. It can be used to make an order and get the goods delivered. Only a small financial contribution is asked to cover logistic expenses. 


The ADN website has a ‘product catalogue’ which shows the actual stock and latest specific items offered by the donating entreprises.

Charities are very enthusiastic. They can now precise their specific needs like ‘toothpaste’ or ‘children underwear’, instead of ‘cleaning products’ or ‘clothes’. The associations only pay a small financial compensation for the logistics costs. A volunteer of ADN makes sure the products are delivered from ADN warehouse to the charities head office within 7 days. 

Association partner contract guarantee that items won’t be resold. ADN signs partner contracts with the adhering charities. Among the conditions are the guarantee that items will not be resold, but only used by the volunteers and benefitting people of the association.


Partner Charities of Agence du Don en Nature

Benefits for donating entreprises

Many companies start to remodel their Supply Chains to minimize their stock and unsold goods. Despite these studies, enterprises have to admit it seems inevitable that enterprises maintain to produce goods that end up unsold. 

CSR and Sustainability Policies make people realise that it may be a good idea to donate the surplus of brand new goods to charities instead of destroying it.

The Agence du Don en Nature guarantees the donating enterprises that goods won’t be resold on the market and supply a yearly transport report of the destination of the goods. Enterprises are happy to report this in their respective annual Sustainability Report. They can also profit from tax deductions in some cases, though this is certainly not the most important requisite, according to Stéphanie Goujon.

Entreprise partners are very satisfied by ADN services.l’Agence du Don en Nature offers [us] various advantages. As a logistics specialist, she has implemented [both] ethical and transparency parameters [by partner association contracts] which guarantees us from a legal point of view that products are distributed to the right people (4).

Partner Corporates of Agence du Don en Nature

What are outlooks for Agence du Don en Nature ?

One of the key success factors is the high involvement of the donating and founding companies, such as Coca Cola, HSBC, Groupe SEB, ATKearney and Price Waterhouse Coopers, explains Stéphanie Goujon. Supply chain directors and consultancies offer their expertise to set up the logistics and distribution chain. Without this support the association would not be so efficient and successful, Mrs Goujon acknowledges. She is therefore keen on carefully maintaining these partnership relations as ADN keeps growing in the coming years.

Supply-demand balance. Some products are over-asked and currently under-supplied. For instance baby nappies, sleeping bags, socks and baby clothes are very much demanded by the charities, whereas potentials suppliers seem to have found alternative destinations. A new initiative steered by a group of Science Po students (French University of Technology) is the Ambassador Program aiming to understand better the association needs and notably find new donating enterprises for the most required products. This initiative will certainly help to improve the match between the donated goods and requested products.

Ambitious Goals. With all these activities going on, ADN has set itself ambitious goals : By 2011 it wants to help 1 million French people by 2011 by distributing goods representing a value of 10 million euros.

French enterprises and associations are invited to learn about the program and join : : ‘Moins de gaspillage – plus de partage’ or :  ‘Less wasting- more sharing’.  

Sources : 1. Presentation AND may 2010, 2. Site ADN :, 3. Supply Chain Magazine ‘ADN, une chaîne efficace entre donateurs et associations, 4. Moins de gaspillage, plus de partage’, Rapport d’activité Responsable 2009.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

we are here in Africa, Uganda running a community based organisation(CBO) by names of “Just Goodwill” aimed at improving the livelihood of the disadvantaged women and children, do we qualify for this products?

Comment by Ssebandeke

Dear Ssebadeke,

The ADN organisation is based in France. Its partners are predomantly French based suppliers and associations. However, I will bring you in contact with Stephanie Goujon, she can respond better to your question.

Kind regards,
Jacobine Das Gupta

Comment by thegreentake

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: