Sustainable business & innovation across industries
Let us take the example of sustainable mobility. Paris Region has been a pioneer in accelerating the switch to electric and shared mobility solutions. It has encouraged the use of bicycles, introduced new cycle lanes, and offered all residents the opportunity to try out electrically assisted bicycles (EAB).
The ban on gasoline cars scheduled to take place in 2030 in Paris Region, has pushed the Region to consider alternative transportation methods. For instance, it has invested in Hydrogen powered buses started which started operating in 2019 (1) and in electric cars. In a recent announcement, Paris Region authorities announced the Region’s ambition to triple the number of charging points by 2029, thereby reaching 12,000 points. Another visionary project harnessing sustainable mobility is the Grand Paris Express, the largest European 200-kilometer long group of subway lines that will connect most suburbs in the Paris Region.
Another example are Fintechs. Even before the Paris Agreement on Climate Change goals signed in 2015, Paris Region was the first region to issue green and sustainable bonds in 2012 and has since then, become the first issuer on the European Green Bonds market. On top of that, Paris Region’s 473 Fintech startups have shown a real potential at mobilizing both public and private financing to help scale up green investment to meet sustainable goals. For instance, end of 2019, there were 704 available sustainable funds available in the categories of environmental, social and governance (ESG), socially responsible investing (SRI) and impact investing.
What does this mean for investors? Paris Region is taking the sustainability turn to the next level by switching entire sectors of its economy to meet sustainable standards. This is generating great opportunities for businesses to scale up in the Region.
Successfully integrating environmental concerns in urban planning
Paris Region is sponsoring a more responsible urban and transportation planning that is respectful of the environment. It has vowed to become a carbon-neutral territory by 2050 and is backing ambitious projects to make the city greener and switch to more energy efficient buildings and infrastructure. For instance, Paris Region is allocating €10 billion to environmental projects over the next 5 years with a special focus on the projects that will help accelerate the ecological transformation of the Region.
This financial support applies to carbon neutral energy solutions such as: photovoltaic installations, wind turbines, hydroelectricity as well as the production and distribution of renewable hydrogen.
Ranked among Europe’s most important clean technology development regions, Paris Region’s energy efficiency saving framework is also focused on preserving biodiversity through vertical farms, rooftop gardens and urban farms. It is also focused on developing new methods of growing food that are respectful of the ecosystem. For instance, the Ferme de l’Envol of Bretigny-sur-Orge, focuses on meeting the needs of consumers through an agro-ecological farm that respects the environment and relies on modernizing ancient farming techniques.
Large corporations, SME’s, and startups have found that Paris Region is a perfect playground to test innovative environmental solutions. Pro-active incentives aimed at innovating in the field of waste management, water treatment, recycling, energy optimization in buildings, and smart management of cities, and organic farming have made it especially attractive for Cleantechs and Agritechs to grow.
Enabling smart and sustainable growth through a dedicated Smart Services platform
Digital technologies are a critical enabler for attaining the sustainability goals and this is why Paris Region built a Smart Services platform comprising core functionalities such as the 3D modelling of current & future projects, co-built services between local stakeholders and residents and a 3D real-life map encompassing no less than 6,000 data sets covering the entire region.
For instance, the platform showcases “My Solar Potential”, a service that helps determine if the implementation of solar panels on a roof is technically possible, economically viable and, where appropriate, to identify who can install the structure. “Smart Work” is also a useful interactive map of 2,022 smart workspaces useful for independents and companies.
With its pro-active strategy of driving growth through sustainability, empowering people through a better access to information, and shifting investment toward sustainable development, Paris Region is a real catalyst for business innovation. Following Paris Region’s smart and sustainable roadmap, major companies are taking sustainability to the next level and incorporating environmental and CSR considerations into every aspect of their growth. This is generating a myriad of opportunities for businesses looking to scale their solutions; be it in the fields of smart mobility, energy saving solutions, eco-construction, or in terms of socially responsible projects that enhance diversity and inclusion.
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1. The first two hydrogen-powered buses started operating during the summer of 2019 and the Region’s goal is to have a fleet of 5,000 fully clean buses in dense areas by 2025, and in the rest of the region by 2029.