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December 2016

Google will switch to 100% renewable energy in 2017

in Renewable Energy by
google en

By 2017, Google will use 100% renewable energy for its operations, including its computer data centers. According to their plan, this target should not be reached until 2025. Read more

Positive Energy Territories take off in France

in Sustainable development by

They are sailing into the wind in France. These more sober and cleaner models of development are territories with positive energy for a green growth. It is an integral plan that oscillates around six axes with concrete projects for a smooth energy and ecological transition. Currently, 442 communities have been involved in this process. Read more

Transforming plastic waste to roofs in Burkina Faso

in Waste Management by

If the project materialises, a whole population will be able to thank the genius of a young boy, who wanted to link ecology and improvement of living conditions. By collecting and merging tons of plastic waste that invade Ouagadougou, Calvin Tiam has succeeded in creating a new material that isolates four hundred times more than the simple metal sheet currently used on the top of the houses. Read more

Startups: A “Village” in full bloom in Paris

in Collaborative Economy by
Source: Le Village by CA

The Village by CA – this mysterious name immediately arouses curiosity. These are “Villages” created by Crédit Agricole (CA), enabling startups, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as large groups to join forces with the common objective of cooperating to innovate and to boost the regional economy. In Paris, the “Village” is growing up on the Boétie Street in the very heart of the financial centre of Paris. It has 400 “inhabitants”, 90 startups and 40 partner companies.

The Village by CA nestled in the French capital acts mainly as an incubator for startups. Founded in 2014, it has enabled these young companies to attain a turnover of € 35 million. Among them are Early Birds or Sharepay which have been ranked among the top 100 startups in which it is strongly advised to invest, according to the magazine Challenge.

Source: Le Village by CA
Source: Le Village by CA

Just like a village, Le Village by CA has a village square. There is also a mayor who has the responsibility to manage everything. Within the “Village”, companies flourish as in a real community. They are given the tools they need to grow up and are put in contact with experienced entrepreneurs – such as accountants or lawyers – who do not hesitate to share their knowledge acquired in the field of business.

The Village allows us to push the limits and penetrate areas we did not want to know before

The “Village” also includes partners such as Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Sanofi, Sodexo and Engie. A designated “Village Representative” meets the startups once or twice a week. However, not everyone receives financial support.


Source: Le Village by CA
Source: Le Village by CA

Within the “Village”, pure synergy is at work. The resources and knowledge of some are shared with others. It is a “horizontal” business model where everyone can contribute to development process. Annually, the Village by CA of Paris organizes about 800 events: product launches, press conferences, every event finds its place.

A startup remains in the “Village” for an average of 23 months. Once “weaned”, companies stay in touch through alumni networks. The demand for startups to integrate these “Villages” is high: more than 1,000 applications have been registered within eighteen months.

Regions such as Rouen and Besançon await their first “Villages” in early 2017. The “inhabitants” of the various “Villages” can meet, solicit the support of each other and impart their know-how. The Village by CA equally has its premises in 25 major cities around the world, such as New York, London, Moscow and Shanghai. Each startup can thus evolve into an ecosystem that creates value and innovation.

Library of Things: Why buy when we can share?

in Collaborative Economy by

Carpet cleaners, lawn mowers or camping gears are items that we may not need every day. So why buy them? Created as a very efficient alternative to buying, the Library of Things is an innovative friendly space where one can hire a plethora of items at very low cost. This new movement founded on collaborative economy is witnessing an upsurge across diverse communities around the world.  


More and more people are believing in a future of sharing and borrowing. The Libraries of Things are spaces that have emerged to promote efficiency as well as knit solidarity in communities. People are offered a large spectrum of items that they can borrow at very low prices. These spaces are becoming the focal points for mutual help where individuals may equally share their knowledge about a variety of topics.

The Libraries of Things are mushrooming across countries like the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US), Germany, Netherlands or Canada. All share the same vision: give people access to things they need once in a while so they can save money. These libraries are gradually taking the form of a genuine global network.

In London, it is an old container that has been converted into a Library of Things space after several pop-up stores were set up on a trial basis. Its creation was made possible through crowdfunding and donations. The London Library of Things witnessed a surge in the number of members keen to join this new business model.

Here, people can hire power tools to kitchenware after checking availability online and creating an account for free.   Acquiring an item has never been so easy and cheap. The co-founder of the London Library of Things, Bex Trevalyan, is categorical about this form of business model:

Everyone should be able to access useful and life enhancing things when we need them


To be efficient and to remain loyal to the needs of the community, the team responds to feedback from customers. As such, it expanded from simply offering items for hire to offering services. If you ever need an in-house DJ, event promotion or workshop planning, you should consider knocking on the door of the London Library of Things. Another thriving team is the Share Library of Things located in Frome, England. It shares the same objectives as its counterpart in London.

In the US as well as in Germany, the Library of Things is more diversified. Tools and kitchen libraries are among the spaces that are most appreciated and sought after. Members can access to a plethora of tools and appliances without having to spend much. Other Libraries of Things offer recreational kits, instruments for science and technology or music. Unusual ones even lend stuff like neck ties or toys.  In Toronto, The Sharing Depot, which is the first Library of Things in Canada, is proving to be very successful. It quickly expanded to four locations. Members can borrow camping equipment as well as sports equipment as well as party supplies.

Nevertheless, there are certain criteria to be respected to be able to share your products and items. Generally, teams of the libraries proceed with some verification to make sure that the items are of good quality and can be used safely, especially regarding electrical items.

In the same breath, this sharing and borrowing concept is furthermore strengthening the feeling of brotherhood in all communities. This type of collaborative economy is seeing an unprecedented and according to experts, an “irreversible” trend. It is foreseen that such a trend will lead to an efficient use of resources and thus, healthy economies.



Idénergie’s river turbine meets the electric needs of a residence

in Renewable Energy by
Photo: Idénergie

Pierre Blanchet wanted to save the planet by enrolling in a Master’s degree in renewable energies. A few years later, within Idénergie, he launched a small hydro that could replace noisy and polluting generators. And above all it will be 90 percent recyclable. Read more

Sustainable irrigation: The pump of the future helping farmers in Kenya

in Sustainable development by
kenya solar irrigation

Rainfall has become more irregular in Kenya due to climate change. Moreover, currently used diesel-powered irrigation pumps are highly polluting and carbon intensive. A solar irrigation pump known as Futurepump has made work easier for small-scale farmers. Read more

Recycled soaps: Bubbles saving millions of life

in Change by

Hand washing with soap may seem as a common simple everyday act. Yet, it remains one of the most neglected life-saving practices in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. Every year, more than 3 million children die from communicable diseases that can be prevented by improving hygiene and access to soap. The recycling of soaps, especially hotel soaps, has been hence launched as a worldwide project to save lives.


Hand washing with soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive means to prevent infections. Nevertheless, it remains a luxury for many people in various African and Asian countries as well as for refugees and victims of natural disasters. Studies have proven that the use of soap is more effective than vaccines or medications alone to prevent deaths in children related to diarrhea or other infections.

The recycling project was launched by Derreck Kayongo, a refugee born in Uganda and who travelled to the United States where he finally settled. On the first day of his stay at a hotel, he was surprised to notice that a wide array of various types of soaps was offered per guest. He was even more shocked when he noticed that these soaps were replaced every day. He wondered what happened to these partially used soaps and understood that they were simply thrown away. As a matter of fact, more than 2 million bars of soap are thrown away daily in the American hotels.

Having been a refugee in Kenya and having survived harsh experiences as part of a poor community not having access to a single bar of soap triggered in him a feeling of revolt against such blatant waste. With his wife, Derreck Kayonga created the Global Soap Project; it became a life-changing and life-saving initiative for millions of children in poor regions. The project consists of bridging hotels and vulnerable people across the world. The founder stated that:

So many people suffer from illnesses just because they cannot wash their hands with soap


Hotels like Hilton and Intercontinental have allied forces with Global Soap Project. In total, more than 500 hotels in the United States have joined the programme. Hotel staff collects the partially used soaps left in rooms and they are subsequently sent to treatment plants where they are sorted out, treated, sterilized and melted again. The only cost that hotels have to incur is transport from the establishment to the treatment plant.

The recycled soaps come out as new ones and dispatched to Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They are distributed freely during medical visits or during sensitization campaigns.

In the light of its success, Global Soap Project has expanded its activities to Europe where hotels have shown keenness to ally forces with the organization to save lives. Up to now, more than 2 millions bars of soap have been distributed over 32 countries.

The other large scale recycler of hotel soaps is Clean the World Foundation. The latter distributes hygiene products to people in the United States and developing countries through collaboration with NGOs.  The foundation shares the same vision as Global Soap Project: “turning trash into treasure”. The recycling of soap largely reduces solid waste as well. Apart from soap, the foundation encourages hotels to recycle the plastic products as well. Lately, Clean the World Foundation and Global Soap Project have been working in close collaboration to maximize their impact.

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