The ecological transition can only be real, deep, and rooted if it is experienced by the greatest number of citizens.

All actors of the ecological transition
Each of us must embody the transition in our way of life, our consumption, our thoughts… As social beings, we have created collectives (villages, towns, associations…) which are today the organs of our society. Any societal change must be developed from these collectives so that new solutions take into account the diversity of needs, constraints and desires. The ecological transition must therefore go through various paths depending on the individuals we are and the collectives we have formed and benefit from the collective intelligence that emanates from these spaces of sharing and balance. Places of collective life are therefore the pivots of the ecological transition!

The first place of collective life
The arrival of a young child in a family is an event that often generates a questioning of the family’s habits. The protective instinct of young parents generally leads them to adopt practices that are more respectful of health and the environment: organic food, reduction of toxic substances in the home, outdoor activities, etc.

The mission of the professionals in the field of child care is to welcome children every day to enable their parents to work but also to accompany them to parenthood. They are trained to help us in one of the most powerful transitions of our lives: the transition from couple to family, from single child to siblings. For the young child, who is going to spend his or her days with his or her peers, the nursery is the first place to “live together” outside the family. As the days go by, they will learn to trust, to share, to listen and to be heard, to experience diversity in the community. The nursery is indeed the first place that participates with the family in the co-education of children.

For all these reasons, the nursery is the ideal place to initiate a collective ecological transition with short, medium and long-term impacts on adults (professionals and parents) and children.

At Label Vie, we believe that it is a question of societal transition rather than ecological transition.

A 360° approach
At Label Vie (formerly Ecolo crèche), we believe that it is a question of societal transition rather than ecological transition. Therefore, we have opted for a global approach that deals with environmental and social issues. It is a continuous approach that involves all stakeholders (professionals, families, institutions and partners). The Label Vie method is based on the active participation and common sense of each member of the living environment team. Each team draws up an action plan to make the ecological transition of its establishment and a label is awarded to highlight the progress made. All the establishments and professionals involved form a network of pioneers who share their practices and mutualise their successes. The key challenges of our method are to respect the vision of each manager, to encourage and make room for all the desires of professionals in the field, and to focus on developing tools that enable professionals to improve their skills through training and exchanges of practices.

This method generates very significant environmental impacts such as more than 60% of water and energy savings, or the disappearance of toxic cleaning products. It also generates very strong social impacts such as a decrease in absenteeism of professionals and a reduction of children’s illnesses. The method also has crucial economic impacts for the managers, who save between €500 and €12,000 per year and per nursery. The monetisation of these impacts indicates that for each euro invested in this method, a minimum saving of €20 is made for all stakeholders (nurseries, managers and the State).

Our challenges for the future: seeking to disappear…
Today, only 500 out of 12,000 childcare establishments in France are involved in the Label Vie initiative. To reach a tipping point and envisage a systemic change for the French early childhood world, this number would need to reach 2,000 to 3,000 nurseries. Label Vie also aims to transfer its methodology to other targets: childcare assistance, leisure centres, senior living places… The Label Vie approach can be adapted to any living place.

The ultimate goal is not so much to grow as to disappear afterwards, having instilled the spirit of a more sustainable society in a large number of living places, which will spread it throughout the society by operating as village squares from which citizens exchange, share and inspire each other.

Claire Grolleau
Label Vie