Recently, the world’s largest event for the planet - ChangeNOW - celebrated it's 5th edition in Paris; here's a fresh recap for anyone that missed it!
Normally, this annual event is held at the Grand Palais, but since the Grand Palais is under refurbishment, this year ChangeNOW took place in the beautiful Palais Éphémère, just in front of the Eiffel Tower! Such an A-class location!
The event featured 5 big stages along with some smaller ones, hosting very interesting talks giving inspirations to the audience. The event welcomed 260+ exhibitors, being mainly startups but also some big companies such as Renault, Orange, LVMH and Microsoft. I was really amazed by the set up of the event.
The event is mainly focused on Sustainability with a diverse range of topics, from Biodiveristy, Health and Mobility to Food & Agriculture, Inclusion and Education or Ocean & Water.
Sustainability is at the heart of our economy and we need to find new ways if we want to achieve carbon neutrality and a net zero world. All the startups featured at ChangeNOW are going in this direction. As Head of Startup Booster at JEC Group - the largest startup competition in the world of Advanced & Composite Materials - I was keen to discover new startups in this field… and I did!
Here are some of the best startups I met and a few interesting talks I attended during the event:
Revolve Air Wheelchair: REVOLVE AIR approaches the wheelchair in a new revolutionary way that makes it the world’s first active wheelchair that fits the standards of a universal cabin luggage size restriction. It folds in the same amount of time as a common foldable wheelchair, but it saves up to 60% more space when both revolutionary 24 inches foldable wheels collapse along the same hub together with the seat and the backrest, guaranteeing a unique compactness and transportability, not found elsewhere.
Orange Fiber: Orange Fiber is an Italian startup that has patented and produces sustainable fabrics from citrus fruit by-products. They create high quality fabrics for the fashion-luxury sector. They start from the by-products that the citrus processing industry produces annually — the disposal of which has high costs both for the citrus juice industry as well as for the environment. They have established a fully traced and transparent supply chain to transform this by-product into the perfect ingredient for conscious designers.
Lightyear: Lightyear One is a long range solar electric vehicle designed to be grid independent and to drive anywhere. Its unique vehicle architecture and technology have been developed with high efficiency in mind, allowing Lightyear One to consume only 83 Wh/km — two to three times less energy than any other electric vehicle on the market today. This results in an exceptional range of 725 km (WLTP) with the lowest emissions, the lowest charging frequency, and 7,000 to 20,000 kilometres of free, effortless, and clean solar range every year.
Green Gen Technologies: After several years of R&D, a group of 2 French entrepreneurs succeeded in designing a revolutionary biosourced and recyclable bottle, developed from flax fibers and plant-based resins forming a lightweight and ultra-resistant composite. with very low carbon impact.
CompPair: This startup develops smart and sustainable composite materials, which are able to repair themselves and be better recycled, bringing circularity to the composites industry. They recently produced the first healable skis with Salomon.
Mike Horn, the famous explorer and adventurer gave the opening speech of ChangeNOW, motivating and encouraging the audience to change their habits if we want to achieve a more sustainable world: "We have to change the way we think. Working together is the new competition"
Bertrand Piccard of Solar Impulse Foundation discussing low carbon cities: "if you have a low-carbon city, it means you are saving energy, you are saving natural resources, you are efficient, which means that the people that are the poorest are paying less because they waste less."
Patrick Boissier, President of the Arch, an initiative labelled by the French Presidency of the EU, proposes to bring visibility to 100 of the best European innovative solutions in terms of ecological transition: "What better way to launch The Arch than with the aura of ChangeNOW 2022"
Tony Estanguet , from Paris 2024 - Comité d'organisation des Jeux Olympiques et Paralympiques de 2024, revealed the new engagements during the “Sport for Change” session at ChangeNOW 2022:
- Around 80% of food served will be locally sourced;
- The carbon footprint of the plates served will be divided by 2;
- The use of of single-use plastic will be divided by 2;
- All of this for 13 million meals served = 10 Fifa World Cups.
It was fantastic to attend such an event and met some many people face to face. I already look forward to attend the next edition. To conclude, there are no better words than the ones used by ChangeNOW team as motto of this edition: "It's time for ordinary people to do extraordinary things!"