Reducing a Company's Environmental Footprint Through 'Insetting'

In this Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 photo, solar panels are seen on the roof of the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in D
In this Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 photo, solar panels are seen on the roof of the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar. From the sustainably-logged wood used in its construction to the 3,500-square-meters of solar panels on the roof, the building designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki is considered one of the most environmentally sound convention centers in the world.Green buildings would seem an oddity in this tiny Gulf nation which has plenty of oil and gas and, according to the International Energy Agency, the highest per capita emissions in the world, closely followed by Gulf neighbors Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

We have developed our economies without taking into account the natural resources we depend upon, which has caused serious environmental sustainability issues.

I founded Pur Projet to help companies reduce their environmental and social footprint and regenerate the ecosystems their activities depend upon. We help companies integrate the offset of their footprint within their supply chains and core business. We call this unique approach "insetting" as opposed to traditional offsetting, which is often disconnected from the usual operations of a company.

By integrating projects within a company's businesses, we help them reduce their footprint while finding new levers of differentiation and growth. Insetting is about bringing in social and environmental innovation and creating shared value. This leads to the development of large-scale ecosystem regeneration and conservation projects, mainly via reforestation, agroforestry and forest conservation.

Currently, we develop more than 25 projects in 20 countries, leading to millions of trees planted and hundreds of thousands of hectares of ecosystems preserved. Our main clients are multinationals and brands such as Accor, Nestlé, Ben & Jerry's and Clarins -- companies that are willing to make a change by insetting their supply chains and business operations.

To us, insetting is key to move climate action from niche to mainstream. We envision the climate industry to multiply by 50 times in the next 20 years to reach 500 billion euros a year and create 500 million additional jobs.

Insetting is also about creating the jobs of the future, and we have a lot of work to do to repair the social and environmental externalities caused by economic development over the past 100 years. Today, it seems more important than ever to help social entrepreneurs innovate and develop new ideas to find a balance between economic development, environmental protection and social justice.

Tristan Lecomte is Chief Executive Officer of Pur Projet, France.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in recognition of the latter's Social Entrepreneurs Class of 2013. For more than a decade, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has selected leading models of social innovation from around the world. Today we have 254 from nearly 60 countries, covering renewable energy and sanitation to job training and access to higher education. Follow the Schwab Foundation on Twitter at @schwabfound or nominate a Social Entrepreneur at To see all the post in the series, click here.