The Climate Fresk: an internal initiative to raise awareness of climate issues

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Following growing concern regarding global warming and its alarming effects, we decided to organise a workshop to raise greater awareness of the climate among our employees.

WeMaintain is a start-up that manages building maintenance operations (lifts, escalators, fire safety systems, etc.). Our activity is part of the building sector, which comes second in the French sectoral breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions established by the French Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity. This sector must undergo drastic transformations in the years to come to comply with the legislation and climate agreements implemented over the last decade. Some people at WeMaintain are very aware and invested in the subject of ecology. As a company, notably with the status of a company with a mission and in the process of obtaining its B Corp certification, The Climate Fresk allows us to bridge the gap between our convictions and our daily work.

The urgency to act no longer needs to be proven, but how to act?

This is the question many people are asking themselves. Developing an environmental strategy requires human and financial resources and a lot of time, but The Climate Fresk succeeds in summarising the main climate issues and unifying teams to create solutions within their reach in just 3 hours. Created in 2015 by Cédric Ringenbach, climate change specialist, former director of the Shift Project and teacher on energy-climate issues, this workshop allows the rapid dissemination of scientific knowledge on climate change. 

We were pleased to welcome Marina and Morgan who volunteered to lead this event. Their commitment and expertise won over our teams and on behalf of WeMaintain, we would like to thank them. They are both founders of YuAct, the training and consulting company that accelerates change management to help reduce the carbon footprint. The first part of the workshop started with a card game based on the IPCC report.

The event attracted thirteen participants from a wide range of roles within our company. Product managers, data analysts, finance managers and brand designers, all volunteered to discuss collective and individual actions to tackle global warming. After reconstructing the "fresk" that traces the cause-and-effect relationships of human activities on the planet, the participants shared with us the emotions felt by this experience. Feelings of worry, distress, sadness and inspiration were shared by our team at the end of this workshop. This initiative helped to clarify the issues facing the world but also to put into perspective the experience and level of knowledge of each person because although some were already well on the way to ecological transition, others have only recently become interested in the subject and this is to their credit! 

"Although I am not a total novice when it comes to ecology, I was eager to learn more about what I had heard about in recent years (without, a bit shamefully, having done much research myself). What I didn't expect was the unsettling effect this discovery had on me, and it still does: even though I haven't yet developed a specific plan to significantly reduce my carbon footprint, the workshop definitely awakened me to the urgency of doing so." - Jeanne Chénier, Data Analyst.
The participants shared the first ideas that came to their minds to take action immediately.

Many have already taken the plunge by becoming vegetarians, while others are committed to limiting polluting transport in their daily lives and when they go on holiday. These initiatives are quite commendable, but at WeMaintain, everyone knows that Dylan is the most committed. Our full stack developer was struck by reading the Meadows Report commissioned in 1971 by the Club of Rome. It presents the system dynamics study model called WORLD3 created by MIT engineers. This model makes a series of predictions aimed at studying society according to numerous parameters such as population growth, the resources remaining on Earth, food, industry, etc. The researchers concluded that the WORLD3 model showed a sudden drop in most human and material parameters around 2030 as resources on Earth diminished and pollution increased. In other words, what this graph shows is a collapse of society if nothing changes. Dylan quickly realised this and began to ask himself existential questions. What if what we are doing now is anything but sustainable?

"The Climate Fresk is a very positive exercise in collaboration and exchange around what I see as an anxiety-provoking subject. However, I think that it is aimed more at a group with a lower average knowledge level than our group had, although from experience I am convinced that you always learn something new in every workshop. But all things considered, I still believe that for people who are not aware of the countless cause-and-effect relationships between human activities and the climate, this workshop is superb! I recommend this tool to everyone around me and I hope to be able to run sessions myself among my friends and family." 

Julie, our brand designer, was also very touched by the fragility of our environment in the face of pollution. Here is what she thought of the workshop: 

"My opinion on this initiative is very positive and at the same time, it is a very disturbing and challenging exercise. The format is inspiring, it allows us to popularise the climate system in a playful way without omitting the most complex parts of it. The exercise calls on our knowledge and requires us to communicate and above all to listen to each other to organise our maps and create our mural. I knew my colleagues to be very knowledgeable about climate issues and once again I had confirmation that we are a group that is keen to do well, both at work and in our personal lives. Nevertheless, this workshop asked us to tackle a very serious and distressing subject, which is why it was so destabilising. It was a sad moment, so I felt a bit helpless, but I can't wait to go on to the next exercise to calculate my carbon footprint and set up an action plan to not exceed a maximum of 2 tons of CO2 emissions per year. I could feel the strong concern of my colleagues about our future on this planet which made me deeply sad. However, we should all persevere to use our creativity, talents and brains to find solutions that will allow us to overcome this feeling of resignation.”

The Climate Fresk is therefore a project that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to all organisations that are trying to integrate ecological issues into their daily lives. But it must be said that the organisation of this workshop is part of a much broader approach than simply raising the awareness of our teams about the climate crisis.

So, we are working on the deployment of an ESG strategy that concerns all of our company's stakeholders and that will pave the way for more sustainable maintenance of building equipment (see the previous article). In addition to this, at WeMaintain, a team has been formed to work on ESG issues and in this way, we hope to move towards the prospect of growing our business in line with the slowing of global warming. 

Find out more

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