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The Paris Brigade: spearheading the international Women4Climate program

Backed by C40 Cities and L’Oréal, Women4Climate is a program that seeks to support and promote women-led initiatives to beat climate change. October saw the Paris launch of two mentorship programs that herald the start of a planet-wide initiative.


Ecotable and PierrePlume blaze a trail
Women4Climate originated in Paris as the brainchild of two women: Barbara Lavernos, L’Oréal Executive Vice-President Operations, and Alexandra Palt, Group Director CSR & Sustainability. Launched in March 2017 in New York, the program is being taken forward by C40 Cities, a network comprising 90 of the world’s largest cities. The goal is to provide mentoring to support and grow sustainability and climate change prevention projects led by the next generation of women leaders. Women from all walks can propose projects, with initiatives coming from the business world, government, community organisations and academia. Illustrating the diverse array of initiatives, the first two mentored projects deal with restaurant certification and recycled wall coverings. Alexandra is acting as mentor to Ecotable founder Fanny Gianseto, who has devised a new labelling system to certify sustainability-friendly restaurants. The idea is to let consumers understand the environmental impact of the restaurants that they patronise while supporting restaurant owners in their environmental transition. Further out, the goal is to help build a more local, sustainable and healthier food supply system. Barbara, meanwhile, is lending her support to two designers, Camille Chardayre and Amandine Langlois, who have created PierrePlume, a range of decorative and acoustic wall tiles made from recycled clothing. Their beautiful wall coverings come in different versions that will enhance any office or home. A total of ten initiatives including these two projects were picked in June to make up the “Paris Brigade”.

Paris today, tomorrow Mexico City and Cape Town
Women4Climate is still in its infancy, but C40 Cities and founding partner L’Oréal are thinking big. They have set their sights on having 50 mentored projects by the end of 2017, 150 by end-2018, and 200 by the time 2019 comes to a close. The city chosen to kick off the program is Paris, whose mayor, Anne Hidalgo, is currently at the helm of C40 Cities. Mexico City and Cape Town, meanwhile, are set to follow suit by starting up their own program by year’s end. L’Oréal Group representatives in Mexico and South Africa are already hard at work. As Alexandra explains: "Partnering the C40 mayors to support the next generation of women leaders is crucial to achieving our goals of promoting gender equality and protecting the climate”. L’Oréal is heavily involved in this project, which is in synch with two of the Group’s core values of gender equality and environmental protection. The Group is playing its part in three ways. First, it is getting its own women managers to support young women with bright new projects. Second it is funding research into the impact of climate change on women. Third, it is spreading the word about the program’s success stories, which will hopefully inspire others. “Women play a massive role in fighting climate change. We have a responsibility to back them all the way”, says Alexandra.

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