Olivier de Berranger

Climate, Education, Action!

Education comes before action,” reads an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, sent by 17 prominent civilians including climate and energy expert Jean-Marc Jancovici, impact investment platform co-founder Eva Sadoun and film director Cyril Dion, calling for members of the French government to be educated about the climate.

This issue is also getting the media involved, such as the environmental shift triggered by Radio France involving “the biggest educational training programme in its history… on climate and science issues.”

This is hardly surprising, given that the topic was the focus as far back as the 1992 United Nations Rio Conference and that, at COP 21 in 2015, Article 12 of the Paris Agreement once again stressed the importance of educating people about climate change in order to achieve the established goals.

And what was then a statement of intent has now become an educational emergency. To meet these challenges, this exercise must connect the scientific, educational, economic and political communities, promoting cooperation across disciplines. While scientists do issue findings, they also come up with solutions, and those solutions must reach the eyes and ears of economic and political decision-makers.

Setting things in motion this way is positive, but it’s essential that they be taken further – that the system be reprogrammed at its source and the educational training programmes be adapted. As the mercury climbs, so the priority of climate change education rises with it in a growing number of countries. Italy, for example, was the first nation to make climate change education mandatory for primary and secondary school students in 2020. In the wake of students, teachers are beginning to call for this Unesco-backed reform, convinced that “educating means making a mark that will last.”

And the financial world is not to be outdone. Many regulations, such as the revisions to MiFID 2 regarding ESG preferences , are driving financial intermediaries to offer responsible investment products and explain to clients that they have the power to take action for the climate with their investment. This is a major development and one which is, again, creating educational needs – needs the LFDE is actively meeting, having educated nearly 3,000 people via innovative programmes like the SRI School and now the Climate School. These programmes offered to our partners and clients in France help to demystify responsible investing, so clients can take climate issues into account. We’re also deploying this educational training to the companies we invest in, to encourage them to accelerate their transition to greater sustainability – because we believe they play a key role in these issues.

No matter what the target – politicians, media, students, financial professionals, or companies – there’s no wrong way to foster sustainable behaviours and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon model of society. And as responsible investors, we fully intend to do our part to drive the movement forward.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this document are the author’s own. LFDE shall not be held liable for these opinions in any way.