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In March 2024, Paris hosted the ChangeNOW Summit, the largest event of solutions for the planet. The students in the MSc Sustainability Transformations programme at NEOMA attended the event. Two of them talked about what struck them about the summit.

Sebastian, MSc Sustainability student

A nine-year-old influencer

“I was able to attend the ‘From Individual Action to Collective Power’ conference. The three entrepreneurs on stage supported the idea that we need to get started through small actions. They all began with a simple idea and then expanded it. I was especially struck by Ali Waters Galàn, a nine-year-old girl. Without any economic assistance, she managed to create a major recycling campaign in her school, influencing all the students and the institution. She succeeded in making recycling a fundamental educational objective. This type of initiative shows that you don’t need to have a diploma, political influence or even money to promote an idea. All you need is initiative and commitment to make the idea come together”.

Climate concern is sometimes part of a larger issue

“At the ‘Navigating through Times of Polycrisis’ conference, we heard from three people who live in countries where the concern over the climate is part of a larger conflict situation. Of these stories, I want to mention the Afghan woman who had to flee her country to survive and currently focuses on helping other Afghan women in exile. Events like ChangeNOW can help raise awareness of the sad reality of certain people. But it’s not just about listening. It’s also about taking action. I am Colombian, and my country also went through a civil war for nearly sixty years”.

Clean and effective energy production solutions

“The team from Schneider Energy presented the work of small energy producers. It was interesting to see how many companies invest in research on new efficient energy. Some of these solutions were based on energy distributed through solar panels, small nuclear generators and even thermal energy created through composting. That gives me hope”.

Clara, MSc Sustainability student

A topic that affects the young and old

“What I took away from the event was the diversity of the people there.  Very different types of people spoke at the conferences, particularly during the “From Individual action to collective power” discussion. There was a nine-year-old speaker, one who was twenty-four and another in her late thirties. I also attended a conference on circularity in the textile industry, and there was a woman representative of the LVMH group on stage with two CEOs of two start-ups that focused on dead inventory fabric. There were companies that were upending habitual practices, and all of them had very different visions. This diversity is motivating. At any age, you can make a relevant, impactful presentation. Even if you are not a CEO of a CAC 40 company, you can still take action, either through associations or in companies. It was very inspiring”.

Circular Economy Solutions

“I’m interested in the textile industry, so I went to see the company NONA Source to speak with them. They have a platform that sells leftover fabric, leather and high-quality thread from the biggest luxury houses. It’s a solid example of the circular economy. I also saw start-ups that offer to set up closed-loop water systems. These are innovative, practical and applicable solutions. They show that it’s possible to effect change”.

The momentum around environmental issues

“Going to the ChangeNOW Summit offered major added value to everything we see in our courses. It gave insight into practical applications, openness to new ideas and the chance to meet many different players. We realised that we are not alone in our concern over these issues. The forum was full over three days, with plenty of energy and commotion everywhere and people coming from all over the world. We saw this international momentum and all the initiatives from the many, different organisations. And we were able to listen to influential people, like journalist Hugo Clément and Bruno Poirson, the former Secretary of the Ecological Transition. It was a vast source of information”.

Associated programme

MSc Sustainability Transformations

Become a change-maker for a sustainable future
  • Full time
  • 15 months
  • Reims