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Co-founder of Woodeum-WO2, a pioneering low-carbon construction company, Guillaume Poitrinal publishes a manifesto aimed at all those who believe that our planet is definitely doomed.
In 2014, Guillaume Poitrinal made the headlines in the business press, which questioned his new career plans. Former CEO of Unibail-Rodamco, this entrepreneur, then 47 years old, had just announced that he was leaving a comfortable and enviable position as a CAC 40 boss to create a start-up specialising in ecological real estate construction. If many did not understand the meaning of this move, some even thought he was a madman… And almost everyone gave his new company only a few months’ life expectancy.
Eight years later, it is clear that the now fifty-year-old was right. Woodeum-WO2 now has an annual turnover of more than 400 million euros, delivers a thousand new flats a year, and builds 300,000 m2 of offices in Greater Paris. With a particularity of size: these buildings are all built in wood, and use avant-garde technologies, with the help of renowned architects and the best carpenters in France. Today, Guillaume Poitrinal makes a first assessment of his experience in a shock book that opposes the idea of degrowth, and intends to promote another more ecological and less defeatist future.
A solution from above
In the prologue to Pour en finir avec l’apocalypse. An Ecology of Action, Guillaume Poitrinal clearly announces his intentions and motivations. “This essay is a manifesto whose objective is to give hope to all those who believe that the planet is doomed, that there is nothing left to do but prepare for the apocalypse or, for the less pessimistic, for extreme poverty,” he writes.
“My ambition is also to give a taste for entrepreneurship to all the talents that could blossom by creating the technological solutions that will enable the planet to overcome the ecological challenge and return to the path of virtuous economic growth. Although the former head of Unibail-Rodamco insists that “the planet is warming up because of human activity”, and insists on the fact that there is an “urgent need to question ourselves to avoid the worst”, he is no less convinced that a solution from above is still possible. On condition, however, that we get down to work without delay.
Ecology and growth
A true player in the ecological transition, Guillaume Poitrinal proposes to transform cities by putting an end to the principle that “nothing that might seem old should disappear”. According to him, it is not only necessary to build new low-carbon buildings, but also to be ready to destroy, rebuild and rethink entire neighbourhoods, so that they are able to achieve carbon neutrality. The co-founder of Woodeum-WO2 is also campaigning for the creation of a “large global thermometer for independent and indisputable measurement of the carbon footprint of each product”, which would make it possible to see more clearly, by directly integrating the environmental impact linked to globalisation.
Another important point is the direct involvement of consumers, who must “enter the arena to demand their right and their desire to consume better”. Finally, he proposes to “put our ecological priorities in order”, notably by redirecting the money invested in uncertain projects towards known, effective and sustainable solutions. Guillaume Poitrinal defends the agro-forestry sector in particular, because he considers wood to be the resource of the future. With this book, Guillaume Poitrinal swims against the tide, demonstrating that it is possible to combine ecology and growth, provided that it is done in a sincere, conscious and determined manner.
To put an end to the apocalypse. Une écologie de l’action, by Guillaume Poitrinal, published by Stock