After a quick ice-breaking activity for all participants to get to know each other, and opening remarks by Mark Lewis, BNP Paribas’ Global Head of Sustainability Research, the Experts quickly jumped into the main challenge of the day: assessments. Each working group of 2-3 people, gathered according to their expertise (Water, Energy, Industry, Infrastructure, Cities...), were assigned solutions to evaluate. The participants were given great practical insights on how to effectively assess a solution, and had the opportunity to learn from their peers.
During the networking lunch, the Experts had the chance to meet and mingle with innovators and learn more about their solutions: products, services, and clean technologies that are profitable and sustain economic growth, while protecting the environment. The entrepreneurs who developed solutions such as IPSIIS, IoT Flood Alert, Joulia, MYJOULEBOX, NitiFilter, LightFi, and Kelda Technology, actively engaged with the audience and even brought prototypes of their solutions.
After lunch, Bertrand Piccard motivated the audience by reflecting on his own experience as an adventurer, and reminding the emergency of fighting climate change. “All the signs are showing that not only climate change is real, but pollution and depletion of natural resources are threatening our quality of life, and we need to take action today” he declared. He was followed by Antoine Sire, BNP Paribas’ Head of Company Engagement, who recalled the bank’s engagement for a sustainable future: "We believe that now the need of our clients and of society is to build a more sustainable, ecological and inclusive world. By doing so we are working for our business models of today and for tomorrow”.
Following the speeches, six roundtables on topics such as wind turbines, smart grids, water pollution, biotechnology, sustainable packaging, and carbon capture storage and reuse, provided the opportunity to discuss technical content with experts. During these conversations, powerful examples of how innovative solutions can radically impact business and help fight climate change were discussed.
With 28 solutions labeled in a single day, this Experts Challenge Event was definitely a great success, both for the Solar Impulse Foundation, taking us closer to our ambitious goal, and for the Experts, whom we want to thank for their hard work and support. We know that assessing solutions is a challenging exercise, but it is a treasured commitment for our mission to build a sustainable future. Last but not least, we want to thank BNP Paribas, without whom this event would not have been possible.