Join la mèche
Commitment is at the heart of their activity. These women and men are inspired by the world to act differently and sustainably, and to make their environment a path of expression, creativity, innovation or solidarity. Finance, culture, crafts, industry and the media are all fields embodied by these personalities, who have agreed to take part in the Proust questionnaire La Mèche. What are their lasting secrets? For you, they "let la mèche out of the bag".

Production: Cornland Studio

Gregory Chollet is an entrepreneur who puts sustainability at the heart of his concerns. A marketing specialist and driven by meaningful projects, he is involved in many organisations that aim to have a positive impact on our environment, be it social, economic or environmental. Gregory has always oscillated between the technical and the artistic. Curious, he went to school: first a university Master's degree in economics, then a Master's degree in computer science at the EPFL, completed a few years later by an MBA. His professional career has been punctuated by various entrepreneurial experiences. He co-founded Loyco in 2013, one of the first BCorp-certified companies in Switzerland, which has nearly 110 employees and operates without a hierarchy. Gregory coordinates the communication agency Zooo, which was born from Loyco's development. In 2018, Gregory co-directed the feature documentary "Demain Genève". An unexpected success that will allow the film to enter the box-office in French-speaking Switzerland and remain in theatres for more than 25 weeks. Gregory is also coordinator of the committee of the Chamber of Social Economy of Geneva.

Transcript

Who are you and what do you do in life?
My name is Grégory Chollet and the question of who I am is often one that I find difficult to answer. Today I would describe myself first and foremost as an entrepreneur who seeks to make an impact.
 
Your current state of mind?
I am fundamentally optimistic, which is perhaps a state of mind that is necessary when you want to have an entrepreneurial career. Even if the situation is not necessarily the best we have ever known, and probably one of the worst in our history, I remain optimistic, particularly in relation to the impact that this has had on mentalities.
 
What is your main character trait?
I think it's enthusiasm and I hope I can communicate that a little bit anyway.
What does being green mean to you today?
First of all, it's a term I'm not sure I particularly like, maybe because it's a bit politically coloured. I think that someone who is green is someone who pays attention to the impact of their actions and practices.
 
Who is the personality or person who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by many people and I think that is important. I am inspired by sports, entrepreneurship and the arts. Above all, these people inspire me because they show a field of possibilities. Whatever the field, inspiration is ultimately about showing that you can. That's what we tried to do in the framework of the project Tomorrow GenevaIt is to show that we can spread and nourish the field of possibilities.
 
How did your desire to get involved come about, what was the trigger, if any? 
That's a good question, I'm not sure there was a fundamental click. I think it happened naturally. Even when I was younger, you'd have to ask my mother, I wanted to do things, to get moving, to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty because that's how you make things happen. My strategy is to do things, to move forward and then to learn. That's how I've always wanted to move forward, by doing things you learn and that's how you can have an impact.
 
How does this commitment manifest itself in your daily life?
It is manifested in the many involvements I have in different projects. They are all projects that give me pleasure. Besides, I am always told that I have an agenda that looks like nothing, but that is because I wanted it to. Finally, I think that the day when my agenda will be different is the day when I will have lost interest in projects and I think that this will not be good news.
 
How do you integrate the notion of sustainability in your work?
I think that the notion of sustainability must be integrated into all our actions. I recently had the opportunity to speak about this notion in education; today we talk about sustainable development as a branch; I believe that sustainable development must be integrated into all the branches.
It's the same for my actions, I think that in everything we do there must be this reflection on the impact of our actions because this notion of impact is fundamental.
 
What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge, as for many, is to change perceptions, to get people to change their ideas, their vision.
I like to say that we are talking about transition, and transition means change, and change means support for change, and this must not be neglected. That is to say that if we want a transition we have to accompany the change and we have to accept that mentalities have to change, that it takes time and that it requires effort. This is where we have a role to play, by saying to ourselves that we have the enthusiasm and energy to do it, so let's help people change their vision of things.
 
You have said some of this, but what concrete solutions have you put in place to change things?
First of all, it is through my involvement. I have the chance to be part of the committee of the chamber of social and solidarity economy which is called After. The aim is to have an impact within a local economic bubble which is ours. Then my main involvement is through Loyco, which is one of the activities that motivates me the most: it is our involvement in governance models because today governance is 'soft innovation' which is extremely important. We can fundamentally change things by putting in place more involving models of governance. And then there are also other voluntary projects because I believe that we are lucky enough to live in a relatively rich society and that it is in our interest to give this wealth. I think that today the most beautiful thing we can give is time. 
 
Is this the way to get back to the human in the end?
I hope we never left it before we had to come back. Behind everything there are people. My main business is a service company and services are people.
I think that valuing people in all their actions is extremely important. Taking a step back, trying to understand, I think that these are mechanisms which are extremely important if we want to be able to change, to have an impact. This is why I think the governance model is extremely important: To leave room, to leave the possibility for people to express themselves is a very important lever for innovation.
What has the pandemic changed in your relationship with the world? 
Objectively, the pandemic didn't change much in my relationship with the world because I was already a sensitive person. On the other hand, I'm happy to see that, once again from an optimistic point of view, this pandemic has forced people to turn to solutions that are more local. This awareness, unfortunately reactive, has taken place. I don't want to say that it was necessary, but in any case there is a positive aspect to this pandemic. It has changed little for me except to reinforce my ideas about the importance of focusing on our local economy. 
 
Tell me about your best nature memory. 
My best nature memory will probably be the next one, but I run in the mountains and I'm lucky enough to be able to do it almost every weekend. My best memory was the last one, a week ago, I had the chance to run in our beautiful Fribourg pastures, as I am from Fribourg. I was alone on a path on top of a small mountain to connect with nature. I think that nature, especially in Switzerland, is completely part of our environment and we say that we have to create a link, well we have to know how to create a link with nature. 
 
If you were a tree, which one would you be?
I'm not very good at botany that's for sure but I would probably be a local tree, probably a pine tree, a thorn tree because I would at least have the chance to live through each season with my finery, which is not the case with most other trees. 
 
What capacity or ability of nature would you like to have?
I think resilience is extremely important. In any case, I hope that nature retains its resilience and unfortunately we have to admit that it really needs it at the moment. 
If you were an energy source, what would you be?
I like water, firstly because part of our energy production in Switzerland depends on our dams and also because water has this chance to have a cycle that is extremely varied, to travel a lot while remaining local at the same time. There is something about water that fascinates me, so I think I would like to be water. 
 
Your favourite season?
My favourite season is clearly spring because nature takes over a little more strongly, the sun starts to caress our skin, we can finally get out and enjoy nature. This is my season.
 
What does preserving the planet mean to you?
We're going to come back to this notion of impact, which means thinking about what we do, about the impact of our actions.
I think we have to accept that we have difficulty being completely consistent, unfortunately, we are made up of inconsistencies, of certain oppositions that we have to accept, but that doesn't mean we can't improve them. If we think about the impact of our actions, if we try to improve a little bit every day, we will have made great strides by the end of the year.
Your favourite landscape? 
I like being on the top of the Pralet, which is a small mountain in the canton of Fribourg, because you have a view of the city of Lausanne, of the mountains and of the lake. I think it's a point of view that allows you to see a lot of things, both nature and the city, a set of things that speak to me because I remain fundamentally urban even if I love nature. 
 
What kind of pollution do you dislike?
Visual pollution. In some countries, particularly a neighbouring country, we can see a kind of visual pollution which is very much carried by advertising, even if what I am telling you is very contradictory because I am a fan of advertising. But print advertising as it is imposed on us in some places tends to bother me. 
 
What solutions for the planet are you looking forward to?
Something that doesn't exist yet? In any case, decarbonation remains an important point for me because it obviously has an impact on the whole cycle, on biodiversity. I observe that most people do not realise the impact of the rise in temperature. And then I would like to find ways to continue to travel while having less impact I think that travelling is still something that is extremely enriching. Today it's true that there is a form of social pressure to travel because we know that it has a negative impact. To what extent can we manage to make trips that have an impact, perhaps not positive but in any case less negative, to continue to feed this tourism economy which remains important for many countries and which above all allows us to open up to different cultures and natures? For me, this is extremely important. We were talking about inspiration, travel is a form of inspiration.
 
What is the one anti-sustainable act that you find hard to give up?
I think it's still meat consumption. I have reduced my meat consumption significantly, I still eat small amounts but I know that the impact is not positive.
 
Which green sin do you find most indulgent?
We were talking about travel before and I remain relatively indulgent when it comes to travel, useful travel, and the notion of frequency is extremely important because a high frequency in everything I think is quite unhealthy. People who want to travel for enrichment, for inspiration I think that's something I'm relatively lenient on.
 
What is no longer available in your kitchen?
You can't find many products that I haven't bought anywhere else but in a territory close to me, even a Swiss territory.
 
Which environmental action makes you feel better?
There are several. Every time I experience the governance that we have put in place, even if it is perhaps less for the environment, it remains sustainable development, I feel a certain pleasure. If we talk about the more environmental dimension, it may seem a bit peculiar but I like to sort quite a bit, maybe there's a little bit of a psychorigid side to it but I like to sort, I feel like I'm doing my bit. 
 
What prejudice about green people have you abandoned?
Again, I'm not a fan of the term ecologist. In any case, in the beginning ecologists were seen as marginal and now they are pioneers, precursors or saviours of the planet. In any case, I've given up believing that ecology is only linked to the impact on the planet but that it can also be the impact on the social and economic aspects.
 
Your biggest contradiction? 
I think I have a lot of them, unfortunately, but you have to take responsibility for them. In my daily choices, it's true that there are still some foods, like meat in particular, which is a form of contradiction. There are certain products, I said that there were few foreign products left in my kitchen, that I still like to eat, I'm thinking of avocado for example. These are elements of consumption. I try to be as fair as possible in terms of my mobility, even if it's not always easy. I invite you to try to go on holiday with your family by train, it's not easy!
 
Your sustainable motto?
We can always do better, I like this notion of each day being a little better than the last. Which I'm not objectively, because again we're full of contradictions, but in any case I think I'm one of the people who pay attention to that and try to get involved in projects to make things happen.
Your idea of happiness?
For me, what is linked to happiness is pleasure, so it's having activities that allow us to have pleasure, the first thing being perhaps a little more self-centred. There is a second aspect of happiness which is again linked to pleasure, but it's that of giving pleasure to other people, whether they are close friends or family. It is to feel aligned with the people around you, with their implications, their actions, and I think that is above all what makes me happy. 
 
How can we act at an individual level to make a difference?
I think it's not easy to work at an individual level. I believe a lot in the impact that we can have through companies because companies have a lever on mentalities that can be important through the contact they have with their employees and that's why, like what the B Corp certification defends, the company can do good and I think it has a real role to play. Finally, a company that suggests a certain number of things to its employees, obviously with a positive impact, will inevitably have a greater lever. A company can reach one, ten or a hundred people, which is obviously much more effective than having to convince a hundred people directly.
What is your utopia?
To think that everyone has a good background. I often say that the extreme of optimism is utopia, so maybe this is it.
 
More realistically, what three things do you think are essential to change the world?
Having the ability to question yourself, I think that's extremely important. To have the capacity to understand others. If you question yourself, you understand others. And then to have the capacity to carry out projects, to push actions, to take a certain number of actions. I think that if we put these three things together, it should make a good, positively explosive cocktail.
What should the new world community look like to you? 
I think that it should already meet the three elements I mentioned: being able to question oneself, to put oneself in the place of others and then to want to carry out projects and make things happen. I think that this is what the new world community is all about. 
Thank you very much Grégory!
I'd love to!
 

You too can tell us your stories that can inspire us all! If you want to try your hand at the Proust questionnaire or share your experience, your commitment, your tips or your gripes, go to the "Share with us" discussion forum on the La Mèche platform:

Proust Questionnaire

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.