As you might have noticed, some groups from D.L.C. France have joined Karrot recently for a little testing phase. DLC (Détournement Libre de Consommables, a nice pun on the french acronym for “use-by date”) has been going strong in Nantes for the past 5 years, with over 150 active members, and is trying to expand its activity through France. They set up an umbrella federation to support this swarming attempt, helping to set up partnerships with stores and to get started on administrative tasks.
Good news: it is working! La Rochelle and Les Sables D’Olonnes, in the same region, have taken it up, and something is bubbling up in Lyon…
Bad news: whilst the local members are happy to do the good deed of picking up the food, there is little enthousiasm for taking over the administrative burden - setting up their own official association, and all the boring French paperwork and costs that come along with that. So they remain dependent on the umbrella federation, which ends up with a heavier administrative workload and has legal liability over all activities on the ground.
But the federation is as grassroots as it gets, without anyone on the payroll for lack of any regular and significant source of income. On top of this need for administrative volunteers (a rare breed), there are fixed costs associated with liability insurance of the association and its members.
Results: membership to participate in DLC activities comes with fees (8€/year), and the efforts to spread through France are met by slow results…
So, wait! Why can’t the French foodsaving communities function like in Germany, with little administrative oversight from the state and no costs associated with liablity insurance?
As far as I understand, most French stores insist on the existence of a legal entity with insurance to donate the food to, because then, whatever they donate is subject to tax exemption. In other words: profit. Up to 45,000€ less a year to pay in taxes for the biggest cooperating store in Nantes, says Clément (one of the founders, and our main contact with DLC).
All this made me curious of the legal requirements in the different national contexts that Karrot groups experience.
Is France an outlier or is this a common barrier to expansion?