1,500 visitors, 26 countries represented, 75 stands, 16 speakers from all over the world, 54 pitches, special guests, but one single message: we urgently need to connect to accelerate towards zero-carbon and energy sobriety.
In the Good Galaxy hub, ENGIE had invited entrepreneurs, associations, project leaders and startups, all working for the common good, and providing the link between the environment and social inclusion.
It was a special day. In terms of overall awareness, the capacity to unite so many zero-carbon solutions and actors, and by demonstrating the commitment of one group to the zero-carbon transition. Bertrand Piccard summed up the feeling perfectly in one sentence: "What I particularly liked about ENGIE was its leadership in terms of the ability to create effective business models for reducing emissions and moving towards zero-carbon.” Other speakers included Laurence Tubiana, the economist and Climate Change Ambassador for COP21, along with scientist Steven Pinker, and student and adventurer Parker Liautaud. In her closing remarks, Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE, said she was pleasantly surprised: "What struck me most is that if we try to reinvent or change the model, we’ll be capable of doing a lot more."
Divided into three hubs (Good Inspiration, Good Journey, Good Galaxy), the good day space, right in the middle of the Saint-Cloud Park near Paris, proved popular with visitors. Marquees made from recyclable materials, use of clean energy and distribution of local food showed how coherently ENGIE embodies the zero-carbon transition. “It was inspiring, but no less than I expected,” exclaims Valérie de Robillard, CSR director at Nexity, who will be working on ENGIE’s campus project at La Garenne-Colombes. “I’ve been working on these issues for 17 years and thanks to this event, I feel that I’m finally witnessing the change. When you have an industrial partner of this size running a day like this, it gives you the energy to make the necessary changes internally.”
ENGIE’s industrial partners were present in large numbers at the event, and those we spoke to were impressed by The good day. “We accepted ENGIE’s invitation: we’re very pleased to be working on these topics with them and I’m very happy that they’ve taken the lead in France by organising The good day,” notes Jacques Bourgon, Engineering Director for Sanofi. Dominique Cordaillat, Industrial Purchasing Director for the Michelin Group, says he is very glad to be part of a community that includes ENGIE: “The point of sharing our environmental vision with a Group is that we complement each other, offering a global solution, a global ecosystem. One provides the battery, the other the energy and the whole thing makes the car run.”
In two spaces, Home & Buildings and Cities & Territories, the pitches just kept coming and ENGIE's solutions for the zero-carbon transition proved popular. The demonstration, which took a totally original form, served only to highlight the wide range of skills offered by ENGIE in providing integrated solutions for its customers, particularly businesses and local authorities. Among many examples were Power Corner, a mini grid to supply renewable energy to a village in Tanzania, drones to monitor both facilities and biodiversity, the new carbon-neutral positive-energy-producing Palais du Commerce in Rennes jointly developed by ENGIE, and hydrogen bikes.
In the Good Galaxy hub, ENGIE had invited associations, project initiators and start-ups, all working for the common good and providing a link between the environment and social inclusivity: education, access to energy, gender equality, integration. All the pillars of sustainable development were represented, often in light-hearted fashion. “We’re all the more in tune with ENGIE’s vision because we have launched the ‘triple zero’ concept: zero-carbon, zero poverty, zero exclusion. We’re going to launch ‘triple zero houses’ all over the world and we would be happy if ENGIE became a partner,” explains Frédéric de Saint-Sernin, CEO of ACTED, an NGO already working with the ENGIE Foundation.
“I came today because I like to see where the acceleration is happening, it’s a bit like walking into the future,” says the writer and French Academy member Erik Orsenna, as he strolls around the stands, asking questions about initiatives. “I've known Isabelle (Kocher) for a long time and I agree with her. You have to connect to accelerate.” Judging by the attendance levels for this unprecedented corporate event and the diversity of the speakers present, the time has now come to accelerate.