What if the ecological transition of business was above all a human challenge?

Author: the Seedlings team

What if the ecological transition of business was above all a human challenge? Seedlings' launch event on January 12th 2023 was a great opportunity for us to open a space for inspiration and discussion around this issue with our ecosystem: business leaders, CSR managers, consultants and coaches committed to the transition. We were deeply touched that so many of you could be with us on this special occasion.


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Live visual recording of the event drawn by Florent Duchêne

At Seedlings, we believe in putting the human element at the heart and reconnecting to the wisdom of living systems to initiate the profound transformation of companies.

- Put the human element at the heart. The magnitude of the task requires reconnecting with ourselves, our emotions, others and the planet. It calls for reinvented, responsible and courageous leadership, aligned with a purpose and values ​​that inspire the entire company.

- Engage in the profound transformation of leaders, teams and organizations towards a regenerative economy. In the vast majority of cases, companies' CSR policies are insufficient to meet the challenges. We must go further, by also tackling the transformation of business models, culture and individual and collective mindsets.

- Reconnect to the wisdom of the living world. We aim to overcome a model of civilization based on the exploitation of living systems, which has weakened our links with nature. To do this, we propose to rediscover our capacity for wonder, to recognize precious ecosystems, to better observe the principles of cooperation and interdependence with living things and to draw inspiration from them.

We were deeply moved by the 3 inspiring testimonies of Vincent, Armelle and Stuart about the triggering moments of their inner transformation. A few extracts:

Vincent Stuhlen, Founder at Impact Labs.earth : "When I was younger I was a professional windsurfer, spending a lot of time in the water in beautiful places and deeply connecting with the ocean. Then I moved on and became a C-level executive, always trying to transform the company from within to achieve a purpose. And my conclusion was that if you do not have a personal and emotional connection to the issue and to nature, transformation will not happen. Now I am a sustainability consultant and a Business Angel investing in companies to regenerate ecosystems. I also have a project of an ecolodge where executives will unplug, leave their phones behind and reconnect to themselves and to nature before we start talking about sustainability.»

Armelle Stoltz, Seedlings coach : “I am very lucky to live near the sea in Normandy. One day I noticed a baby grass on the sand, called lyme grass. This is a very important grass which protects the shore from the water rising effect and feeds the biodiversity. So I decided to take care of it. Unfortunately people on the beach kept the habit of walking on it and destroying it just like
that, not paying attention at where they put their feet... I posted flyers to explain the multiple benefits of preserving the Lyme grass. And then, guess what happened? people read the explanations and started to avoid stamping on it. Easy success! Great! But a few months later, I found out that tractors had completely destroyed all the lyme grass from my favorite seashore. I was shocked and devastated. So I decided to take action and go much further. I am now the president of the local green association in my town. That’s the story of my personal transition, that,step by step, made me join Seedlings."

Stuart Pickles, sustainability and leadership coach at Aim Higher leadership. “Some years ago, I was a finance guy in the corporate world and I went to what was called a "Leaders Quest" in South Africa. I was exposed to some serious pollution and environmental degradation around Johannesburg. And I also spent time staying with a local community leader in one of the townships. I realised that after 25 years in the corporate world in finance I had blinkers on and was completely closing my eyes to social and environmental issues. This was a truly pivotal moment for me.”

To be convincing and influence our ecosystem, we must first be intimately convinced ourselves. This is what these inspiring testimonies tell us. They emphasize the importance of inner alignment: the rational and the emotional parts of our brain, the head and the heart, and the link between our different identities as parents, citizens and professionals.

Vincent Avanzi, Chief Poetic Officer at Plume du Futur, deeply moved us by reading a poem around his vision of a truly sustainable world. A few verses below (The complete version is available in the book "Poetic Leaders : Poetry will save the world and we're all poets").

Starting today, please pave the way

As a poetic leader for Humanity and sustainability

And surprise us with your soul purpose

To give birth on this Earth

To a world of harmony, sobriety and biodiversity

As our next uplifting future story and legacy

Be Imaginary, visionary, revolutionary!

Become heroes of change with more than a net zero all together,

Fight for what’s for vital, not what’s viral.

Be radical in the name of our survival,

To make sustainable irresistible

Before climate change hits irreversible.


Then… magic happened and strong emotions were released. Here is what the participants shared when they were encouraged in small sub-groups to name their feelings and their impulses:

“We talked about how poetry moved us emotionally and made it clear that creative ways of engaging like this are so vital to enable awakening.”

“Thank you so much for the power of the vision and of the group.”

“Urgency is there to walk the talk and move to action, solutions rather than pollution as Vincent said.”


Thanks so much to all who attended and shared this very special moments with us. Let’s meet again online soon for new authentic and inspiring exchanges, with the cycle of "Courageous Conversations" webinars which starts in February.