Topic : Environment & Sustainability
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In Switzerland, Ashoka nominates one or two social entrepreneurs every year to be part of our fellowship programme. Ashoka fellows are visionaries who develop innovative solutions that fundamentally change how society operates.
Since 1950, 20 percent of sea species have disappeared and the rate of extinction of marine species has been accelerating so fast that there could be few wild fish left by 2050. To reverse this situation, Claire Nouvian is building a collaborative research community that enables and pushes companies, citizen organizations (COs), and governments to change every step in how the world deals with the oceans. With her organization, Bloom, Claire is enjoying early species preservation successes.
In growing slums around the world, access to clean water is a constant challenge. Through his organization Eau & Vie, Philippe de Roux uses access to clean water as an entry point to change negative perceptions around slums, and to eventually turn them into vibrant communities.
François Marty is setting new standards and redefining what public housing should look like: Aesthetic, high quality, ecological houses. With municipalities, he is shifting the vision of public housing operators and demonstrating the economic viability of such houses. He is also creating and training an entirely new sector of social enterprises, employing those most marginalized in ecological construction.
In response to the increasing industrialization of dairy farming in France, Fabrice is developing an entrepreneurial-driven small-scale farming alternative that reinvents the role of farmers keeps them in the agricultural and economic landscape. Through new modes of production and distribution that respect the environment and offer healthy milk, he positions dairy producers as wellness partners and reconnects them with consumers.
Guilhem Chéron is creating a viable alternative to France’s industrial agricultural production system by using peer-to-peer marketing to fundamentally transform the economics of artisanal, environmentally sustainable food production. By reducing overhead costs and inefficiencies, Guihem is more than doubling the income suppliers receive for their products, first for suppliers in France and ultimately, across Western Europe.
In response to increasing agricultural industrialization throughout France, Jérôme Deconinck has created the first agricultural land trust to mobilize the French population to preserve their agricultural heritage, and to promote the development of a more unified small-scale organic farming culture. He is demonstrating that another form of rural development—one that preserves landscapes, ensures custody of the environment, and maintains economic and social activities—is possible.
Pierre Rabhi has used principles of agroecology to improve yields and living conditions across the French and West-African agricultural sectors. Through innovative training methods, he has helped over 150,000 farmers diagnose the best way to adapt and apply ecological practices to their land and cultures, effectively uniting thousands of citizens in a movement to restore and protect environmental and social ecosystems.
Since the 1980s, Jean-Guy Henckel has worked to help the most excluded out of long-term unemployment. His innovative model trains them to produce high-value, organic agricultural products and organizes them into local “Cocagne Gardens,” organizations that market their packaged products to conscientious consumers, who in turn commit to buying their products every week. Beginning locally, Jean-Guy has expanded his approach to over 100 locations across France.