French style GreenTech, the trendy sector that makes recycling and slow consumption “mainstream”.

French style GreenTech, the trendy sector that makes recycling and slow consumption “mainstream”.

Very honored 2022 edition of VivaTechthe start-ups of GreenTech ecosystem occupy an increasingly important place in the French entrepreneurial landscape: “De The CleanTech revolutionan American book published in the 2000s about GreenTech and ClimateTech, which have become trends today, the acceleration has been very rapid over the last five years,” analyzes Isabelle Albert, GreenTech expert in a European think tank and manager by Satgana, a venture capital that invests in startups Search for solutions to these climate and biodiversity problems. “The whole challenge of GreenTech today is to make a difference while offering sustainable services and products that are accessible to as many people as possible.”

But what exactly is “making an impact”? Corresponding Impact France Movementis an impact company one built on four pillars: Initiating real change around eco-consumption and eco-driving, Defending a social impact internally to its employees and externally with inclusive services and products, Sharing power through demonstration of decision transparency, ethical leadership, gender parity and integration of the company into its territorial ecosystem, transmission of values ​​based on an ethical financial strategy, fair and transparent management methods

Also, when Catherine Ballard talks about her green nugget, Earth, present at the VivaTech, also sets the tone: “It is a company with an impact, in the midst of ecological change”. This Breton start-up tackles the problem of land and water pollution, particularly with regard to illegal dumping, and offers a participatory digital solution. So is commitment to the climate the main criterion for being part of GreenTech? To integrate the GreenTech sector, is a low-carbon app the sesame then? “Our French GreenTech companies represented at this edition are very committed to reducing their own environmental footprint and creating useful innovations,” says Julie Ranty, director of VivaTech this year.

Is the French scene greener than tech?

“Today there is still a lot of money for the digital transformation, but we must not forget that digitization is only a tool,” says Isabelle Albert, whose motto could be “for a more sustainable and in the service of sustainable development”. “Tech has an accelerator function,” she adds. The GreenTech expert, also author of Tech it Green: Digital transformation and ecological change. Building the double revolution of the 21st century (2020) takes the example of Ynsect, this food start-up that, as the name suggests, makes insect-based foods. By using the machine learning etc artificial intelligenceYnsect uses technology to facilitate the environmental approach.

This is also the case with Earthency, which adds a bit of tech to a good idea: “Our tool does not have great technological depth, Catherine Ballard admits, but combined with our innovative concept it becomes a start-up that has its place in the category GreenTech”. “The difference today lies in the impact analysis and in particular that of the life cycle of the entire proposed solution. Above all, we have to measure the weight of the technologies and their impact on the environment to ensure that the uses make more sense in the long term,” explains Isabelle Albert.

From associations to sustainable business and finance

After professional retraining in Climate Plan, Catherine Ballard, the creator and founder of Earthency, worked on waste management and water quality. When the idea came to her in 2014, she saw no other way to realize her project than under the umbrella of a “community of general interest”: “Thanks to a free mook from HEC, I was able to create an impactful company that I can relate to.” would undoubtedly understand better than with a simple association”. And with good reason, the association world has long been the first and only one in France to be committed to environmental issues and green solutions.

“Some brands like Patagonia or Weleda caught it very early on, but that was the exception,” says Isabelle Albert. Then, after associations and a few start-ups green On the fringes, the social and solidarity economy, the SSE, appeared in France. And for the professional, this is the starting point of this more virtuous economy: “Today companies say green, want to be Mainstream. They change the notion of desirability and marketing.” In short, having the latest SUV and smartphone in your pocket is less trendy than carpooling, consuming less, going vegan or buying a Fairphone.

When the examples of Back Market, Vestiaire Collective or Rzilient inspiring French GreenTech entrepreneurs by evangelizing the message “optimizing your budget and the environment is much cooler than over-consumption”, the ecosystem can still be daunting. “To venture and do something in GreenTech today is worse than an obstacle course, breathes Catherine Ballard, who launched Earthency in 2020. Mentalities take time to change, it is not yet obvious for investors to put their capital into meaningful jobs.”

What is French GreenTech today?

“We’re talking about 1,800 start-ups here, a number that has doubled since 2020, 60,000 jobs and 3 billion euros in sales,” says Isabelle Albert. “We at VivaTech wanted to shed light on these increasingly important topics,” adds Julie Ranty. “This is the end of the financial companies that just tick the boxes of ESG criteria that distribute ratings without really questioning the impact and the model,” assures Isabelle Albert. The Ehpad Orpea scandal or the war in Ukraine have helped to reshuffle these cards: it is time for truly sustainable finance.

In the United States, the sector is becoming increasingly lively and heard, but Europe has its merits too. “Sweden and Germany are holding the rope, France is also doing well,” analyzes Isabelle Albert. European GreenTech is the second largest in the world behind American Power”.

tech et green are they therefore irrevocably linked?

The alliance of environmental protection with the digital is largely due to the agility of the tech world and its role as a mediator. Potential geeks have a reputation for being particularly flexible and able to create almost anything from scratch. For the GreenTech expert, “they (the tech community) recently integrated their role model function. She initially believed that she was not polluting the environment by stopping printing sheets and staying indoors Cloud. The only optimization was that of data centerbecause ventilation and energy were expensive”.

Today she is making her transition much more quickly because her ability to adapt is strong and consciousness is still faster. This makes technology an undeniable advantage for impact companies. “GreenTech is a return to equilibrium to reverse the phenomenon of anthropization and positively impact the flooding of human activity,” Catherine Ballard points out. We must never forget that “technology is just one of the tools to respond to the climate emergency,” concludes Isabelle Albert. And hope that Paris, like Amsterdam and the American continent, will soon devote its fair entirely to GreenTech.

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