Our vision is based on the following facts:

Having an interest in the field of sustainability, from the environmental and energy point of view, as well as an engineering background, we have acknowledged the major challenges facing humanity for the 21st century. The human footprint on the planet has become so important that it is crucial to change trajectory with regards to our way of living. We are transgressing essential planetary boundaries:

  • Climate change is a sword of Damocles suspended above our head. Scientists agree that a +2 degree global warming is a threshold we should not exceed. The current trends are pointing towards a temperature rise of about 6°C (source: International Energy Agency).
  • Increasing the CO2 content in the atmosphere causes ocean acidification, which has deleterious effect on the fauna.
  • Biodiversity loss: species are presently disappearing at the same pace as during the dinosaur extinction (source: Stockholm Resilience Center).
  • The disturbances of natural Nitrogen and Phosphorous cycles are creating harmful effect in the ecosystem, such as eutrophication.
  • Chemical pollution, particularly of the water, causes biological problems, which ultimately impact humans.

Transgressing these planetary boundaries exposes humans to irreversible changes at planetary level. However, our societies are completely dependent on the ecosystems’ services: food, clean water, hospital climate! Our societies and economies are parts of the biosphere and, if natural capital was taken into account, the world GDP would show a decreasing curve rather than an increasing one. A shift in mindset is now needed in order to see human and nature as one single social-ecological system.

So, what does it take to enter a new era of sustainable development? New technologies? A lot of money? Actually, no! the main barriers are political and social. The main renewable energy technologies are now sufficiently mature and cost competitive, if externalities and subventions to fossil fuels are taken into account. There have been a lot of analyses and scenarios built in order to prove that even an industrialized country like France can achieve huge cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions: the energy needed for electricity, heat & cooling and transportation can be provided by sustainable means if renewable energy technologies are promoted and energy efficiency and energy sobriety measures applied. A systemic approach is needed at the world level, , and all the countries need to move simultaneously in the same direction. Emphasizing on CLEWs (Climate, Land, Energy, and Water) interactions play a pivotal role in the transition to a sustainable development.

The challenge is mostly a social one. Developed countries have an important role to play as they are responsible for most of the human pressure that is being applied on Earth. A new paradigm is needed with respect to our consumerism society. It is now acknowledged that goods consumption is not correlated with happiness. Also, our manufactured products must be thought and optimized as part of a loop, where impacts are seen from cradle to grave and in the whole biosphere. Constraints on resources, financial instability, inequalities and environmental degradation are clear signal that “business as usual” cannot continue. For that reason, the economic system needs to be re-molded so that short-term economic gain is no more the norm.

There are many local examples which prove that sustainability is just a few meters away, and that it is not at all a synonym of constraints, on the contrary! Smart grid, cities with high renewable energy share, agro-ecological farming and ecosystem-based fisheries management are already implemented in various places and it only needs to be up scaled thanks to appropriate subventions, incentives, innovation and supporting legislation. Entrepreneurship needs to be encouraged as the global solution will come from local ones. Aiming at sustainable development is the only prosperous way forward. Sustainable development is a path of non-regret; this is about an exciting journey that lays in front of us!