Interview: Lionel Le Maux, co-founder of Transition Forum

This June, global influencers in business, government, civil society and startups will come together at the Fairmont Monte Carlo for one reason … to help speed up the transition to a zero-carbon economy. Lionel Le Maux, co-founder of Transition Forum, spoke to Monaco Life about why the forum is necessary in our battle against climate change.


Monaco Life: Can you tell me why it was necessary to start the Transition Forum?

Lionel Le Maux:The ecological transition is a vital and systemic issue that must involve different stakeholders from multiple sectors and countries to tackle the immense challenge of creating new models for sustainable economic growth from a broader perspective. From the 2015 Paris Agreement to the voices of young activists around the world, we’ve all heard the calls for urgent action in the face of climate change, overpopulation, biodiversity loss and the depletion of natural resources. Technical solutions exist, but we need to work together and finance them. No single actor can do it alone. Our goal is to strengthen the ecosystem of key players across multiple sectors — companies, startups, investors, cities, NGOs, foundations, researchers — in order to identify innovative solutions, form partnerships and spur investments which are essential to speeding up the transition.

What has the response been?

The first edition in June 2018 allowed us to start building a community of actors who share our long-term vision of working towards a low-carbon future. The response from speakers and participants was overwhelmingly positive, and many of them are coming back this year to witness the progress made on each other’s actions, and to collaborate on concrete solutions.

Last year, there was a very significant agreement signed, tell me about that and how the Transition Forum fosters these types of deals?

Transition Forum aims to bring together key stakeholders in the ecological transition, and fostering partnerships with sustainability as their purpose is integral to our mission. The timing of our inaugural forum, of which Prince Albert is the high patron, was perfect for the announcement of the partnership between IOC and C40 to make the Olympic Games sustainable. We welcome and encourage all members of our community to use Transition Forum as a platform to announce and launch their sustainable initiatives.

Can we expect any big announcements this year? 

Our focus is not so much on making one big announcement. What’s even more important and impactful will be a number of announcements from diverse international players, followed by concrete actions which can be measured year after year. That’s why, on the first day of this year’s Forum, we’ll open the floor to speakers and participants who wish to share the progress they’ve made on their actions since last year.

Why was it important to focus on the societal impact of the ecological transition this year? 

The transition is about all of us. But, for citizens to fully understand the challenges of the ecological transition, they must be able to measure its impact on their daily lives. We will be focusing on food, housing, mobility, and patterns of production and consumption, because all those aspects of our day to day lives will be radically transformed in the coming years.

Is Monaco an environment for you that inspires people to make investments in sustainable practices? 

Definitely. The actions of the Principality in this area are undeniable, and HSH Prince Albert II has set an inspiring example for others by clearly demonstrating his commitment to leading Monaco on the path towards a low-carbon future.

What concrete or innovative solutions have emerged since the first edition? 

You need to come to the second edition to learn about the wide variety of mind blowing innovations that will be presented: from the latest carbon capture technologies to flexible solar films, to boats powered by plastic waste, photosynthetic architecture, urban cable cars, indoor vertical farming, and much more.

What are the most innovative solutions one can expect to learn of this edition?

I mentioned some of these innovations above. We will hear from a combination of small startups and large companies who have already transformed their business models to embrace sustainability. They’ll share innovative solutions for feeding a burgeoning population, housing people, producing and consuming goods, and low-carbon mobility. But while technology and innovation are obviously important, what is really going to propel us on the path towards a low-carbon future is how we embrace these innovative technologies in our daily lives. Each of us have an important role to play in the ecological transition, and we need to share the responsibility for building a new model for human progress while preserving our planet.

Monaco Life is proud to be a media partner of Transition Forum