Ecology and environment
Focus has always paid particular attention to the quality and the longevity of our fireplaces. For this reason, the materials we use are entirely recyclable, and the high standards we set for the design and production of our models allow us to guarantee them for a minimum of five years.
In addition, Focus is committed to developing good environmental practices in its choice of suppliers. For example, the catalogue is printed by a company that has been awarded the French environmental label 'Imprim’Vert', guaranteeing that the printer manages the chemical products used in the printing process in an environmentally sound way.
Wood and the environment
Wood energy, far from being a relic of the past, is clearly one of the ways towards a sustainable future. It can be considered one of the best means to stock and restore, over several decades, solar energy. Creating heat by burning wood is, along with solar heating, among the least polluting for the planet.
Wood is a renewable energy source because it can be replenished relatively rapidly, especially in contrast to fossil fuels, which take several million years to develop. As far as wood resources go, the surface area of forests in France has almost doubled since 1827 to its current extent of 16.5 million hectares – the equivalent of 30% of French territory. So we are far from the alarmist predictions about the disappearance of our national forests. It is certain that biomass will be among the principal energy sources of the future.
Wood supplies France 10 million TOEs (tonnes of oil equivalent), which represents 4% of total primary energy consumption. Wood is the largest renewable energy source used in France: it is an ecological, effective and economical heating choice. Every year in France alone, some 51 million m3 of fossil fuel energy is saved by burning wood.
A STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE REGION
With over half of its sales exported around the world, Focus could have made the utilitarian commercial decision to outsource production to countries where the social conditions, salaries and environmental regulations are much less restrictive for businesses than those in France. It would also have been possible to move Focus’s head office from its historic location in the medieval village of Viols-le-Fort in the foothills of the Cévennes to a big city for logistical and marketing reasons. The choice to maintain its roots in the region where it was founded has allowed the creation over time of some 30 jobs in a little developed part of the Languedoc region.
Mindful of its economic, social and environmental responsibility, some 20 years ago Focus chose to take over the metal workshop in the south of France that produced all its fireplaces after it ceased operations, saving 13 jobs. Today, Cavaillon employs nearly 50 people, and major investments have recently been made to improve its operational capabilities.
For Dominique Imbert, this acquisition was both a way to show his appreciation to those who had supported him in riskier times, as well as to ensure his continued independence. His decision would transform the small workshop into a factory that today produces fireplaces for customers from Russia to Brazil and Australia to North America.
Innovation, design, sustainability and social responsibility are the values that have guided Focus since its inception and which will continue to drive its development in the years to come. These choices, militant and pioneering from the outset, have allowed the artistic, entrepreneurial and economic success of Focus created by the motivated and dynamic team at the side of the founder and designer of the company, Dominique Imbert.
Focus is living proof that beyond passing trends, concerns about short-term profitability, and commercial opportunism regarding sustainable development, other business models are not only possible, but indispensable for the future and the well-being of human beings and the environment.
Management with a human priority
Taken from an interview with Dominique Imbert, the President and founder of Focus
What is your personal vision of management? How would you define it?
For me, it means prioritizing people over profits and keeping them motivated. It means making sure that all the people who work here have the right conditions to do their best and feel happy in what they are doing. This facilitates professional development within the company. I like to think that a company can be a kind of family.
How do you manage on an everyday level? What are your tips?
I feel that I manage using intuition, supported by the expertise of my management team. During a recruitment interview, I believe it is very important to know the person behind the potential role they will fill, which I endeavour to discover by taking them to lunch.
What do you pay particular attention to in terms of keeping people motivated?
One measure that I put in place is a profit-sharing system. I’ve given each employee who has been with Focus for over 10 years shares in the company. I also feel very strongly about providing pleasant working conditions, so the team feels satisfied about coming to work every day. I hope that they identify with Focus.