3 questions to Hélène Le Téno

Published on 27 February 2019

Hélène Le Teno is an engineer (graduated from the École nationale des Ponts et Chaussées), specialized in ecological and digital transitions, and director of the SOS Transition Écologique Group. She is also co-head of Auxilia Conseil, a consulting company assisting firms and territories with strategic foresight, from the design of new high-performance business models to the acceleration of transition (human and financial levers). She co-authored with Alain Grandjean  « Miser (vraiment) sur la transition écologique », published in 2013 in Éditions de l’Atelier.

How can we ensure that the ecological transition reduces inequalities between territories?

The ecological transition is an opportunity to promote a more balanced economic development: sustainable agriculture – qualitative, more intensive in jobs associated with local transformation and distribution in short local circuits – both in rural and peri-urban areas; production of “decentralized” renewable energies in within regions; thermal renovation across all territories; local loops for circular economy projects. The associated employment level has not yet reached its maximum, but is estimated at about several millions in many reports.
Dynamics in all territories make the creation of value possible, supported by sustainable and non-relocatable jobs, taking into account natural capital. Overall, this is a major contribution to reduce income inequalities and access to services. TEPOS (positive energy territories) are an illustration of it.
To support these dynamics, it is necessary to finance territorial engineering carried out by local authorities – in close collaboration with the economic driving forces and SSE (social and solidarity economy) of the territory – and directly support the agents of the economy of tomorrow (ie. supporting them during the experimentation and innovation phases, removing barriers to their change of scale). Precisely, investments of the future – necessary to support this transition – are often atypical, diffuse, and involve natural and human capital as much and often more than financial or material.

Can this transition be used to facilitate reintegration into the labour market?

Reconciling social emergency (great precariousness), human needs (access to employment as a means of subsistence and development) with the energy transition is possible.
This is the case for several programs that have been carried out in France and abroad. Schemes such as Soleni (in Grenoble) or EnergieSpar (of Caritas in Germany) allow a personalized support for tenants in fuel poverty by people who are themselves integrating. The quality of the link that is built makes it possible to achieve sustainable and significant reductions in energy consumption and related bills.

What are the SOS Group’s strategic priorities in this area?

At the SOS GROUP, we have the conviction that everyone can have a chance and find their way. Our ActaVista structure, based in Marseille, focuses on professional integration through the renovation of old buildings. People supported in integration are thus trained in trades and skills in the construction sector. In partnership with BaoFormation, ActaVista has experimented a training path towards the profession of solar panel installer.

In addition, we are active in social and professional integration by reducing the gap in access to mobility: our WiMoov structure has strengthened its support by offering preferably green mobility solutions to people supported – in particular through the use of co-financing (EWCs Précarité Transport).

Finally, over the past three years, we have grasped the challenges of the agricultural and food transition as a lever for territorial development, the transformation of French agriculture (strongly challenged by the wave of farmers’ retirement, the evolution of the CAP, and the changing demand) and access to better food for all – thus contributing to the reduction of food-related health inequalities.

We are developing several territorial poles for agricultural and food transition, with financial supports (public, private), and are carrying out innovative training programmes (companionship on agro-ecological farms) to strengthen the skills and chances of success of companions in their future green profession.