The FAMAE Foundation Sustainable Innovations Challenge 2021

How can we solve environmental problems through innovation? Banner image: Shutterstock/qualtaghvisuals

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At the Vivatech technology conference, held 17 June 2021, the FAMAE Foundation launched its fourth Sustainable Innovations Challenge, an international competition supporting innovative solutions to fight climate change.

FAMAE: a commitment against climate change!

I founded the FAMAE Foundation in 2017. It was initially a personal commitment: I began questioning everything in my 50s and I realised that I didn't want to leave an awful world to my future grandchildren. They will live in the year 2100—and it will be a disaster unless we can do something about climate change. This is the thing that has a grip on my heart.

But I've already experienced global warming firsthand. I grew up on Oléron, an island off the west coast of France, where my grandparents' beachside house was submerged in 1999 and 2010. These events are supposed to happen only twice every hundred years, yet it has happened twice in just ten—and there will be more soon.

I have always been aware of climate change. When I was in elementary school we used to clean the beaches, and I never owned a car living in Paris; I have also raised my children like this. These are my values, but we have to go one step further!

So I said to myself: I want to do something. This is why I decided to dedicate half of what I earn to combat climate change, creating the foundation with my family and supporting it by financing our team and awards.

More on the Forum Network: "Investing in Nature for a Resilient Future" by Jennifer Morris, Chief Executive Officer, The Nature Conservancy

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What is FAMAE?

We are a family foundation that aims to support innovative initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint. Our vision is that technological innovations will accelerate a much-needed ecological transition if they are properly funded.

To achieve this, since 2017 we have been organising an annual international environmental innovation competition—the FAMAE Sustainable Innovations Challenge—with a prize fund of €1,000,000. The first edition was on the theme of waste, and it has very quickly become a must for those working on innovative projects with a positive environmental impact. 

I believe that innovation at all levels will allow us to achieve the objectives of sustainable development.

Read the report "Making the green recovery work for jobs, income and growth" and see the latest OECD data for #ClimateAction, recommendations and policy advice on the Green Recovery

A significant international perspective

The FAMAE Challenge aims to support brilliant innovations that have a positive impact on our planet’s health. It is open to anyone, anywhere—entrepreneurs, SMEs, students, researchers, associations, local authorities—with solutions for a more sustainable and responsible world, in line with the current environmental and health emergencies.

The FAMAE Challenge is currently one of the most ambitious environmental innovation competitions in the world. And its recognition and visibility are growing: we count , MIT, UNICEF, EIT Food, the International Water Association and  part of our ecosystem, to name just a few.

In three years, nearly 8,000 projects from 120 countries have been analysed by a jury of recognised experts, such as Gunther Pauli, Bertrand Picard, Geneviève Férone, Philippe Mauguin and Flore Berlingen, with twenty winners from France and across the world being selected.

A multidisciplinary fourth edition

Having previously targeted specific sectors of the ecological transition, this year we decided to cover six fields of the ecological transition and the circular economy: Water, Waste, Food, Housing, Energy and Mobility. This will allow us to expand our scope of action on various environmental issues for the largest impact possible.

Thanks to a partnership with the setec Foundation, a special prize will also be awarded to support sustainable constructions projects in France and in a number of African countries: Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Senegal, Madagascar, Benin and Gabon.

Applications are now open for non-profit and for-profit projects!

Applications are now open for non-profit and for-profit projects!

Related Topics

Tackling COVID-19 Entrepreneurship Sustainable Development Goals Green Recovery


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Eric Philippon

Partner, FAMAE Impact; Founder, FAMAE Foundation

In 2017, after more than 20 years in the private equity business, Eric Philippon decided to devote 50% of his earnings to combat climate change. He created the FAMAE Foundation with his family, and every year they organise the FAMAE Challenge, one of the world largest competitions of innovations for the environment. 

Eric Philippon is also a partner at Famae Impact, which aims through its investments to support companies whose objective is to reduce carbon intensity of economic activity and preserve biodiversity for a sustainable ecological transition.