In Paris, Green Forum traces a more sustainable footprint for the planet
People suffering from eco-anxiety – the fear of environmental catastrophe – could get a boost from a green forum in Paris this week. Bringing together hundreds of eco-entrepreneurs, businesses and activists, ChangeNOW aims to chart a sustainable plan for the future.
From trendy food, tech to transportation, a slew of green solutions for our resource-hungry society are parked until Saturday at a huge event venue – made of sustainable materials – in the shade of the Eiffel Tower.
“It takes 35 days to reach Madagascar from Marseille. Passing through the Suez Canal. And we use the wind. This helps us save up to 60% energy,” says Louise Chopinet, who runs a Brittany-based shipping startup called Windcoop. Its wind-propelled sailboats carry approximately 14,000 tons of cargo per trip. For now, that means spices from farmers in Madagascar. As the shipping industry is challenged to become carbon neutral by 2050, sailing is taking off.
“It’s really a growing interest now. Everyone gets under sail and into the wind,” she noted.
Berlin-based Noa Climate also works in Africa. It sells systems that recycle organic waste into energy in locations far from power grids. Janine Gadke, from Noa, explains that the company works with financial partners so that poor communities can buy products on credit.
“In Kenya we have a project in an orphanage, they have a system there…they can have electricity and everything. And they feed the system with kitchen scraps,” Gadke said.
ChangeNOW is considered one of the biggest global environmental events of the year. This 5th edition includes CEOs and activist celebrities, such as British primatologist Jane Goodall.
Being Paris, representatives of a greener fashion industry are also present, such as the luxury group LVMH. Companies also offer natural textiles such as silk, cotton, hemp and mohair.
“We can sense a boom in demand,” says Eva Pujol who works for UK textile association The Sustainable Angle; adding that “more and more people are coming and we have brands that are asking for more and more sustainable materials…I think the pressure is mostly coming from customers to buy better.”
The forum offers bike parking, recyclable bins and a veggie burger stand. Those who haven’t found climate-friendly transportation to come here can help offset their carbon emissions.