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In Lyon, green elected officials and industrialists forge links

Black sneakers and suit, shirt and thin white pouch, Bruno Bernard, president (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) of the metropolis of Lyon, poses for the photo, all smiles in the midst of twenty business leaders. The communication operation is carefully orchestrated on the metropolis stand at the Global Industry trade fair, which takes place on Monday, September 6 at Eurexpo, near Lyon. The elected representative and the industrialists sign a “Manifesto for an industry committed to the environment”. According to this document, the community undertakes to promote establishments and to publicize industrial jobs, while companies promise “To act to reduce the energy and environmental footprint of industry”.

For Bruno Bernard, the objective is to demonstrate the credibility of environmentalists, by showing themselves without complex alongside industrialists, who provide more than 60,000 jobs in the second largest economic agglomeration in France. Culture shock ? Often caricatured for their alleged decreasing naivety, Lyon environmentalists seek to forge constructive relationships with entrepreneurs, in a subtle balance.

“We have no irritating point in our relations with contractors. Like all elected officials, we are in constant contact with them, explains Emeline Baume, first vice-president of the metropolis of Lyon, responsible for the economy, employment, commerce, digital technology and public procurement. They know our bias: the ecological transition, the energy mix. Before the election we did not have access to them, it weighed on us, for a year we have been talking. “” When Gérard Collomb arrived at the town hall twenty years ago, the business community thought that Russian tanks were landing in Lyon. The new green executive raises the same doubts, we dispel them by meeting with business leaders every week ”, abounds a close advisor to Mr. Bernard.

“The dialogue is open”

After a wait-and-see phase, relations between industrialists and elected ecologists from Lyon are advancing at the rate of crossed interests. “They are very sensitive to mobility, under the terms of public orders. We will see if the quality of the exchanges is sustainable ”, confides Alexandra Mathiolon, Managing Director of Serfim, a Lyon public works company with 2,200 employees. Anxious to maintain good relations with the communities, with which she ensures 50% of her activity, the young boss is familiar with the new president of the metropolis, she recognizes him “A real pragmatism”. The former municipal councilor of Villeurbanne ran a depollution and asbestos removal company, before conquering the metropolis with 1.2 million inhabitants.

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