Logo de la chaire d'enseignement et de recherche emlyon et Carbone 4

Anthropocene Strategy

The current epoch, called the Anthropocene, is marked by climate disruption, biodiversity loss and soil depletion, all mainly caused by the impact of human activity. This unprecedented reality raises major issues for companies, driving them into adapting to an environment in constant mutation. The traditional approaches are no longer enough. The purpose of the teaching and research chair of emlyon business school and Carbone 4 “Anthropocene Strategy” is to develop a strategic thinking framework for companies, encouraging the collaboration and innovation to address such crucial issues.

About the chair

Climate disruption, biodiversity loss and soil depletion are the symptoms of what is being recognized by the scientific community as a new geological epoch. It is called the Anthropocen. Its main characteristic: the era of man as the dominant force shaping Earth's geophysical composition and processes.

For the first time ever, humanity is confronted with the limits of its natural and biophysical environment.

For companies, such an unprecedented situation will lead in the short or medium terms, to structural transformations, brutal ones sometimes, but mainly rarely foreseeable, of their direct business environment, but also more broadly, of the socio-economic system in which they operate (behavioral change, reconfiguration of value chains or yet again, evolution of standards and of institutions).

To secure their economic prosperity, companies need to be prepared.


« The Anthropocene calls for a radical change in strategic thinking and actions; companies need to implement unprecedented means to perceive and provide meaning for the world to come, in order to better transform themselves and contribute to building “livable” worlds. »

The objective is two-fold, on the one hand, to cease the opportunities and control the risks associated with this unprecedented context, and, on the other hand, to build confidence internally (staff) and externally (stakeholders), as traditional approaches are no longer appropriate. Usually based on prolonging or influencing historical trends (business as usual), such approaches often prove short-sighted, too compartmentalized, and even divorced from reality.

If efficient in terms of “where to play” and “how to win” when it comes down to sharing a perpetually growing cake, these approaches are intrinsically limited when dealing with the risks described above.

Additionally, while low-carbon transition is a collective issue all organizations have to address, such traditional approaches do not allow to identify potential collaboration avenues between them, even though they are essential.


The emlyon business school-Carbone 4 “Anthropocene Strategy” chair ambitions to contribute to the development of a framework and a method in business strategic thinking, to stand the test of the Antropocene and the planetary limits.

More practically, it will consist in:

  • Conducting a doctoral research work around strategic leadership and manufacturing coalitions in the Anthropocene
  • Designing and testing pedagogical features for acculturation and competence growth of professionals and students, followed by conceiving and directing strategies on a par with the challenges of the Anthropocene
  • Broadcasting as largely as possible, the research results and methods of strategic thinking in the Anthropocene, via publications (scientific communication, peer-review articles, books) and events

About the consulting firm Carbone 4

Carbone 4 is a consulting firm specialized in decarbonization and adaptation to climate change. Carbone 4 guides its clients in building resilient strategies compatible with planetary limits, by putting forward its leading expertise, its sectoral experiences and state-of-the-art methodology.


« To contribute to the transition, more than ever, companies need to picture and understand what could be their role in an undefined future, yet aligned with environmental constraints. The purpose of Carbone 4 is to help them achieve it. An important methodological work is being developed and this research chair founded with emlyon business school will be its catalyst. »


Photo portrait de Thomas Gauthier

Thomas Gauthier

Professor at emlyon business school

Thomas Gauthier is a professor at emlyon business school and is in charge of the course called “Sustainable Futures” which all students of the Grande Ecole Program, those of the International MBA and of the Executive MBA need to take. His research works focus on anticipation and organizations' strategies in the Anthropocene. He also explores the workings providing companies with the means to design “habitable” worlds.
Thomas Gauthier has a Doctorate in clinical medicine from the Imperial College London, a Masters of Science in electric and computer engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and an engineer degree from the École supérieure de physique et chimie industrielles de Paris.

Photo portrait de Bertrand Valiorgue

Bertrand Valiorgue

Professor at emlyon business school in strategy and governance

Professor in strategy and corporate governance at the emlyon Faculty, Bertrand Valiorgue is also a member of the Institut Français de Gouvernement des Entreprises (IFGE). His research works focus on corporate responsibility and corporate capacity to address the great challenges of the Anthropocene. His academic expertise covers notably the agricultural and food system sector. He graduated in 2008 from the Université Jean Moulin/Lyon 3 with a Doctorate in Management Sciences and was accredited to conduct research in management sciences at the Université Clermont Auvergne in 2016.

Photo portrait de Jacques Portalier

Jacques Portalier

Director of the IRIS initiative (Laboratoire C4) and project manager automobile industry

Since April 2020, Jacques has been driving (with Romain Grandjean) a development program for tools and methods, federating major groups and top-tier academic partners. The objective of this program is to design new tools for prospective strategy which will help users to better anticipate the ruptures and transformations associated with energy and climate-related issues. As an engineer (Centrale Lyon and ENSPM), he has a 20-year career at PSA, in both technical and strategic positions. As such, he has a unique experience on the technical, economical and legal aspects of the whole automobile industry. Committed to environmental issues (Master IGE of the Mines ParisTech), he worked in 2019 for the Haut Conseil Pour le Climat. He also contributed to the works of the Transformation Plan for the French Economy of the Shift Project.

Photo portrait de Romain Grandjean

Romain Grandjean
Head of partnerships and training for the IRIS initiative

Since April 2020, Romain (with Jacques Portalier) has been driving a development program for tools and methods, federating major groups and top-tier academic partners. The objective of this program is to design new tools for prospective strategy which will help users to better anticipate the ruptures and transformations associated with energy and climate-related issues. A graduate from the Ecole des Arts et Métiers ParisTech and of the École des Pétroles et Moteurs, Romain Grandjean previously worked in an oil group for several years before integrating the Shift Project in 2016. He is the project manager and the main author of two studies carried out by this think tank in partnership of the Afep: “Climate risk analysis: actors, methods, perspectives” (2018) and “Climate-energy scenario: assessment and operating instructions” (2019).


Carbone 4

Romain Grandjean
Partnerships and Public Affairs Manager


Recherche - emlyon

Thomas Gauthier
Affiliate professor in strategy and holder of the chair “Anthropocene strategy”


Partenariats - emlyon

Ludivine Toutounji
Assistant Director in charge of Corporate Relationships