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Change NOW 2020: Sparknews at the International Summit for change

From January 29th to February 1st, Change NOW organized the International Summit for Change, at the Grand Palais, in Paris. This unique exposition of solutions for the planet gathered more than 250 exhibitors, as well as numerous speakers participating to round tables, workshops or keynotes. Sparknews had the pleasure of hosting two discussions, on media and new narratives, and organizing two Positive Innovation tours, to present some of the exhibited projects. Throwback on the summit’s highlights.

Change NOW International Summit for Change © Sortiraparis

The Change NOW Summit started in 2017 to support new innovative solutions that could respond to global social and environmental issues. For its third edition, ChangeNOW gathered 1000 projects from 100 countries at the Grand Palais. Each addressed either the issue of global warming, loss of biodiversity, finite natural resources or the need for an ecological transition accessible to all. Every solution had to respect four criteria to get a spot at the summit. First, it had to aim to respond, with a strong potential impact, to one of UN sustainable development goals. Then, the project had to be persistent, with no financial balance relying on donations, and with an ability to be deployed at a large scale. Finally, the solution had to be innovative, not necessarily in terms of technology but by presenting a new way of thinking.

Some #HeroesOfChange highlighted during the Positive Innovation tours

Two Positive Innovation tours punctuated our first day of the summit, during which we discovered a variety of #HeroesOfChange, such as MAÏA Africa and Squiz. MAÏA Africa, previously Faso Soap, is aiming to lower the number of malaria victims considerably. The organization started from an alarming fact: a child dies from malaria every two minutes. While looking for an effective and long-lasting way to repulse mosquitoes, they learned that 80% of children under 5 received ointment on their skin every night. They saw there an opportunity to create a product that would be part of people’s routine. So they designed the lotion MAÏA to repulse mosquitoes for over six hours while moisturizing skin with shea butter.

No fly in the ointment: the lotion protecting women and children from malaria - The Telegraph © MAIA Africa

On the other hand, Squiz intends to reduce packaging waste, as only 26% of plastic packaging is recycled worldwide. The company produces reusable food pouches which can be used around 50 times and therefore limit waste. Indeed, 3 Squiz equal to 150 disposable pouches. They are entirely produced in Europe and packed in France, in an ESAT, an association which works towards the social and professional integration of people with disabilities. Since its launch in 2014, the company estimates having prevented 150 tonnes of packaging waste.

Squiz, one of the #HeroesOfChange at Change NOW Summit © Sabine UTJES

What about journalists’ role in change ? A workshop “Media, the World and Us”

ChangeNOW Summit was also an opportunity for Sparknews to organize a journalists’ conference to discuss the role of media in apprehending global challenges. Valérie Martin from Ademe, François-Xavier Lefranc from Ouest France, Astrid de Villaines from the Huffington Post, and the sociologist Erwan Lecoeur debated around the subject: “media, the world and us”. This theme led to a variety of questions about the place of media in French municipal elections, but also about the best way to inform accurately about the climate crisis. Overall, the discussion revolved around the necessity for media to get closer to the people, to inform and guide them towards an ecological transition.

Valérie Martin (Ademe), François-Xavier Lefranc (Ouest France), Astrid de Villaines (Huffington Post), and the sociologist Erwan Lecoeur at Sparknews’ journalist workshop at Change NOW Summit © Paloma Moritz

Speakers and participants then split into two groups, to continue the discussion around two specific questions: How to be systemic while local? And how to apprehend and reflect citizens’ preoccupations about these subjects on media covers? Mainly constituted of journalists, the workshop allowed different media to exchange ideas and opinions about these new challenges and find, together, the best ways to approach them.

Sparknews’ journalist workshop at ChangeNOW Summit © Morgane Guérin (Sparknews)

Overall, the ChangeNOW International Summit was a success, with around 28 000 visitors. See you next year at ChangeNOW 2021 Summit!

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