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Interview with Aymeric Bricout, a young alumnus passionate about climate and energy-related issues, as well as by research!

Aymeric Bricout, Grande Ecole Program alumnus (2020) is interested in challenges related to global warming, energy and the environment. While carrying out a research project on the perspectives of blockchain technology to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreements’ objectives, Aymeric completed his end-of-studies Master’s thesis on the use of this technology to encourage the deployment of the circular economy. After recently graduating, he wants to gain a strong understanding of climate and environmental politics and economics. In order to do this, Aymeric crossed the English Channel to pursue a second Master’s degree at the prestigious university Imperial College London, thus fine-tuning his professional project. Aymeric explains to us how he became interested in climate and energy-related issues, his experience at IÉSEG, and what is next for his professional path.

When and how did you begin to be interested in subjects related to climate change and questions related to sustainable development?

Although my interest in issues related to global warming and sustainable development has grown gradually over the past 4 years, I would say that the order of magnitude of the challenges we are facing has served as an electric shock in my awareness of the urgency of the fight against global warming.

As I read the key reports and studies on environmental, energy and climate issues, listened to experts, economists and scientists, and participated in additional training (such as MOOCs), I gradually acquired a broad and multidisciplinary base of knowledge which helped me to understand comprehensively the complexity and the systemic character of environmental, energy and climate issues.

It’s been about two years now that, after a first phase of awareness, I decided to engage intellectually and professionally. Today, after a lot of time spent educating myself, it seems obvious to me that energy and climate-related issues do indeed represent humanity’s most important challenge.

Could you please explain how your time at IÉSEG helped you to advance in this project (Master’s thesis, associations, internships)?

Being a student at IÉSEG has allowed me to seize unique academic, professional and human-oriented experiences, which, over the years, have allowed me to refine my ambitions and better define what I would like to achieve as both a professional and a French citizen.

My first highly significant experience was without a doubt my one-year university exchange, which I did at Cornell University’s Department of Political Analysis, in the United States. In addition to providing me with the experience of studying new subjects, such as social inequalities, population policies and public risk management policies, this academic exchange allowed me to meet people from all geographic and academic backgrounds, and to broaden my intellectual and cultural perspectives.

When I returned to France to complete my Master’s degree, (Economics and International Business major), and thanks to IÉSEG, I was able to participate in the CRÉENSO and Alter’Actions programs, and thus to carry out two strategic advisory missions at the service of organizations of the Social Economy. Participating conjointly in these two programs allowed me to have a first experience in the domain of consulting and analysis for the benefit of organizations that attempt to combine economic profitability with positive social and environmental impacts. Finally, my experience at IÉSEG concluded with an internship in consulting in Deloitte’s sustainable development department, in Brussels. Wishing to rapidly evolve on topics related to analysis, research and strategy, it was interesting for me to understand the nature of the concrete issues, challenges and expectations regarding sustainable development strategy in the private sector.

For me, IÉSEG is first and foremost a provider of opportunities! Everyone is free to seize these opportunities and to create a coherent and rich experience according to their own ambitions and interests.

After your thesis at IÉSEG, you recently published a ‘working paper’ with the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center. Can you please explain why you pursued this research?

In order to get the most out of my end-of-studies thesis semester, I chose to do a consulting project in collaboration with EY France’s Climate Change & Sustainability department. I was thus able to work for six months on the perspectives of the blockchain technology to help private and public stakeholders to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreements’ objectives. This research covered three main themes: circular economy, climate finance and social impact. My end-of-studies thesis, with Loïc Berger, professor at IÉSEG, focuses on one of these three themes: blockchain and the circular economy.

Once my collaboration with EY ended, it seemed pertinent for me to make my work visible and accessible to as many people as possible. In this way, I recently had the chance to publish a first article with the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center, a research center hosted at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. While the UN informs us that the number of climate refugees in the world could rise to over 250 million people between now and 2050, this article aims to inform NGOs, public institutions and private organizations about the perspectives that the blockchain technology offers to increase the impact of humanitarian aid for vulnerable populations.

Finally, I had the pleasure of learning that my IÉSEG thesis was just selected for the final phase of the 2021 ICOR Prize for the best IÉSEG Master thesis in the fields of organizational ethics, social responsibility and sustainability.

You are currently pursuing a second Master’s degree at Imperial College London. What are your projects for after the program in 2021?

When my studies at IÉSEG were nearing their end, I realized that I had not received training on climate and energy-related issues and, more broadly, on the causes, consequences and issues of global warming. Certain that my professional career as well as my personal life would be largely structured around issues related to global warming, energy and the environment, it seemed important to me to complete the education I had received at IÉSEG with a multidisciplinary program that would allow me to acquire the necessary knowledge in politics, economics, law and science of the environment and climate change. Therefore, I am very proud to have integrated the Master in Environmental Technology of the prestigious university Imperial College London, and thus to receive a top-level education that will allow me, I hope, to advise public and private decision-makers in the resolution of environmental, energetic, and climatic challenges.

Once this Master is completed, I will most certainly seek to work as an analyst, consultant or researcher on transdisciplinary subjects related to the economics, politics and geopolitics of climate and energy issues. In the long term, at the national or European level, I would like to be able to contribute to the development of economic strategies for low-carbon transitions aiming at carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest. This is a necessary condition for achieving the objective of the Paris Agreements to keep global warming below +2°C compared to the pre-industrial era.