84 business leaders call for "organized" rather than "subjected" sobriety

84 business leaders call for “organized” rather than “subjected” sobriety

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Posted on July 05, 2022

Go from an “emergency sobriety”, suffered, to an organized sobriety. This is the challenge that we, business leaders, have decided to collectively face“, launch 84 business leaders in a column published in the JDD. Initiated by the Impact France movement, the call encourages “Make energy sobriety a collective choice“. The platform is signed by entrepreneurs of the social and solidarity economy but also leaders of large companies such as Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of EDF, Hélène Bernicot of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa or Pascal Demurger at the head of the Maif insurer.

Sobriety is not synonymous with scarcity, withdrawal or decline, but it is the answer to the most crucial equation of our time which should today be at the heart of all political reflection: how to meet everyone’s needs in a world of outdated planetary boundaries and unbridled consumerism“, write the entrepreneurs engaged in the JDD. “Sustainable sobriety will necessarily go through fair value sharing and long-term integration within the company, and therefore through changes in governance”add the latter.

This position echoes that of the three French energy companies, Engie, TotalEnergies and EDF, who had also published a column in the JDD to encourage more “sobriety”. The three dominant companies in France on electricity, gas and oil encouraged to consume less energy to respond to the urgency of the situation. They then evoked a “necessary exceptional sobriety, we have tools, expertise, which we intend to mobilize to achieve this sobriety over the long term without significantly affecting our lifestyles“, they underlined. But the 84 leaders who sign the platform this week in the JDD go further.

A deep transformation

Committed leaders believe that it is precisely our ways of life that will have to be transformed in depth. “We plead not to limit the issue of sobriety to a one-off response from each citizen faced with a crisis of inflation and shortage suffered, but to make it a global approach committing the economy to a new model chosen and mastered.“, underlines Jean Moreau, founder of Phenix and co-president of the Impact France movement.

Entrepreneurs are thus campaigning to integrate into the heart of business strategy the “circular economy, usage saving, relocation, regeneration of biodiversity, or even alignment of the company’s carbon reductions with the Paris agreement” on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These models are developing in several sectors, such as textiles with the use of second-hand goods and guaranteed repairability, in food with the use of sober organic farming in carbon inputs, short circuits or the fight against waste or even mobility with soft and carbon-free solutions, and even digital through “low-tech” or “tech for good” initiatives.

A return that promises to be rich

In addition, the authors of the forum believe that the sobriety chosen is also a means of reconciling ecology with social issues. “Organized economic sobriety is a way of not placing the burden of the transition on the poorest“, they write. They hope “develop our global competitiveness model” in order to “finally get companies out of a perpetual contradictory injunction“between financial objectives on the one hand, climatic and social objectives on the other. Another column published in Socialter and Médiapart, adds that in “France, a person belonging to the richest 10% emits on average 5 times more greenhouse gases than a person belonging to the poorest 50%”.

The signatories of the JDD forum will propose this “collective choice“August 30 when”of the Summer Universities of the Economy of Tomorrow” in Paris. An appointment which will be held at the same time as the summer university of the first French employers’ organization, the Medef, renamed Meeting of the entrepreneurs of France (REF). In addition, it is also at the start of the school year that the members of the Business Convention for the Climate (CEC) will make 10 proposals to elected officials to transform the economy. They are campaigning in particular to make the publication of a biodiversity index compulsory or to set executive bonuses according to climate strategies, but also to generalize carbon assessments. After 9 months of reflection and 6 plenary sessions, the 150 companies that took part in the adventure plead for “reinvent the business, align it with planetary boundaries and enter a regenerative economy” they point out.

Mathilde Golla @Mathgolla

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