Isabelle Kocher: “We have to reinvent energy”
On May 25, ENGIE CEO Isabelle Kocher gave her Great Innovators Stand Up presentation at the Inno Génération entrepreneurs’ fair hosted by Bpifrance at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris. Her presentation theme was: enabling the energy transition through innovation and digital technology.
"Energy is central to a process of reinvention that is, in all probability, completely unprecedented": it was on the basis of this fact that ENGIE CEO Isabelle Kocher addressed her audience. It is a revolution triggered essentially by global warming, "the first truly planetary challenge".
Climate change is "in many ways a fundamental and general invitation to every one of us as stakeholders - whether consumers, energy generators, manufacturers, regulators or non-profit organizations - to invent something completely different." And Isabelle Kocher believes that inventing this "something completely different" revolves around "two inextricably linked driving forces": "energy and digital." The development of renewable energy solutions, such as solar power and green gas, and the Internet of Things are clear evidence that the world is already changing.
The potential of both is enormous. Isabelle Kocher took the example of solar power with its extremely attractive properties. She describes it as an "almost inexhaustible" resource, "one hour of the solar energy received by our planet is more or less sufficient to satisfy global energy consumption for around one year." Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy is uniformly distributed around the planet, opening up the prospect of "a world with a better geopolitical balance."
This type of innovation allows us to "envisage a rather different world (…) in which energy is no longer synonymous with fear", and in which it will be possible for us to "reconcile what previously seemed irreconcilable": "bringing energy to everyone (...) sustainably."
Behind the commitment expressed by one woman, there are around 155,000 employees who share the same vision. "ENGIE has decided to pioneer" the energy transition, and devote all its resources to that end. The Group is implementing an industrial strategy that involves disposing of €15 billion in fossil fuel-related assets over three years, in order to invest €22 billion "solely in new energy sources and new solutions." In preparing for the future, ENGIE has also reached out to its shareholders "who have accepted a one-third reduction in their dividend (...) on the basis that the equivalent amount is invested in innovation and technology."
But to succeed in the challenge posed by the energy transition, we must also "rely on the human community," because "above all else, a corporate group is a human construction." The "pyramid organizational structures (…) that have worked very well in centralized worlds" have become obsolete. Breaking down barriers and encouraging action by legitimizing the right to make mistakes: that is what will build the great corporates of tomorrow, which will be dynamic, innovative and attractive to young people:
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