Production: Cornland Studio
After completing his primary, secondary and university education in the United States, Guillaume began his career in finance in 1989 at Intel Corporation, first in the United Kingdom and then in France. A chance meeting in 1995 brought him back to his native Switzerland, where he continued his career in private banking at Darier Hentsch & Cie and as a partner at de Pury Pictet Turrettini. In 2010, he founded Quadia, an investment firm that allows him to put forward his understanding of what finance should and must achieve. He learned about social and environmental finance mainly through successful collaboration with world-class foundations and NGOs. Today, Quadia is led by a dedicated and highly competent team, allowing him to play a more strategic role on its board of directors and to continue his personal journey in sustainable finance through umbutu. Guillaume was raised by a mother who, without knowing it, was the epitome of what ecology means and who deeply ingrained in him the social and environmental values he defends today.
Who are you and what do you do in life?
My name is Guillaume Taylor and I am passionate about all things social and environmental.
What is your current state of mind?
On the one hand motivated by everything we can do to move forward in this sustainability but at the same time worried, but not defeatist. But motivation and belief dominate any pessimistic state.
What is your main character trait?
I am responsible for my thoughts, my actions and I do not blame anyone.
What does it mean to be green today?
To be completely in tune with nature and understand that nature is our mother, our teacher and our guide.
Who are the personalities that inspire you and why?
Princess Irene of the Netherlands because she is a person who is completely connected with nature, she spent six months alone in South Africa communicating with nature. She is really the person who is the locomotive for me in my journey towards this attachment to nature.
Let's talk about your career path, how did your desire to get involved come about, what was the trigger if there was a trigger?
The desire for commitment came from my gut and I realized very quickly that all my understanding, my knowledge, my awareness was instinctive and not at all learned. And I liked that.
How does this commitment manifest itself in your daily life?
A lot of work on my individual consciousness, on my state of mind and every day to take action without thinking too much.
How do you integrate the notion of sustainability in your work?
In my job the same way as in my personal life, that is to say, take risks, don't look for solutions before acting, but jump in the water and swim.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
To move from awareness, from knowledge to action. There is a proverb that I like very much, I don't know if it is Chinese but it was found on Benjamin Franklin's desk a long time ago: "tell me and I will forget, teach me and I will learn but involve me and I will understand". And it's this gap between learning and understanding: understanding is through experience, through emotion, so we move from a pedagogy of transmission to a pedagogy of experimentation and that's how we learn.
What solutions are you considering to address these issues?
To work on this individual consciousness. Today we are governed by a collective consciousness and this collective consciousness conditions us but does not necessarily allow us to understand. And it is only for me by the individual conscience that we will understand and that we will be able to act. But as I said before, we don't know the solutions, we just have to build the bridge as we go along and not draw it from A to Z before we can start the construction. But that's the big issue, we talk about collective intelligence, collective action but I don't believe in collective consciousness, it must be individual and as long as it is not individual we won't succeed.
What has the pandemic changed in your relationship to the world?
For me the pandemic has shown that when there is a will there is action. It's absolutely incredible because in a fair way or not fair way everybody has acted, governments have acted. And why can't we do that for the next pandemic which will be much worse, which will be the one of the revolt of nature? So we can act, we can reach a sustainable solution, we have the means and we proved it with this pandemic.
Tell me about your best nature memory.
I spent three weeks in a virgin forest in Tasmania with a shaman, it was just the two of us. For a week I was alone, I didn't eat, I drank water from a stream that came out of the mountain next to the forest, I had no pen, no paper, no book, no phone, no screen. I communed with this beautiful forest for a week and I absorbed all the energy of this forest that welcomed me and indeed made me feel this sense of belonging, it was beautiful.
If you had to be a tree, which one would you be?
The baobab tree.
Why is this?
Because the baobab is a tree that is not inherently very beautiful and it is often alone. In Africa, in the great plains of Mali, I had the opportunity to see these baobabs that are alone on this plain, they are not very beautiful but they are resilient and the juice of the baobab, the monkey bread is an absolutely magnificent juice.
What is the capacity and ability of nature that you would like to have?
To be interconnected, to be interdependent, to be able to function in a world that is complex but not complicated and that everything flows naturally despite the complexity.
If you were an energy source, what would you be?
That of the rocks, the pebbles.
It is the energy that I feel the best, it is when I am on a rock, on rocks I feel much more energy than in other places in nature.
What is your favorite season?
It's nature's preparation for resilience. Winter is coming, you have to strengthen yourself, you have to strengthen your immune system, you have to create that resilience and I like this preparation for resilience.
What is your favorite landscape?
The forest, the dense forest with little visibility but an abundant biodiversity and an explosion of different plants, rather green.
What does preserving the planet mean to you?
It's loving him, it's having a lot of empathy.
What kind of pollution do you find annoying?
The one that destroys agricultural food.
What solution for the planet are you looking forward to?
That of diversity, that of local solutions. That we do not look for the solution but for a multitude of solutions. That which is brought locally by individuals who each work a part of the earth or the walls or their habitat.
What is the one anti-sustainable act that you find hard to give up?
And the anti-ecological sin that inspires you the most indulgence?
The car, emissions from cars.
What is no longer available in your kitchen?
Foods that are not organic or biodynamic or local.
Which environmental action makes you feel better?
Finish what's on my plate and finish what's on the plate of others.
What prejudice about green people have you abandoned?
That they are people who dream but are far from reality.
What is your biggest contradiction?
I have two motorcycles and a motor boat.
What is your sustainable motto?
Let's go back to the original intention of an activity, be it the original intention to invest, to learn. It is the move away from that original intention where the means becomes the substance and the substance becomes the means.
What is your idea of happiness?
Sharing with other people who have the same convictions, the same understandings as me.
What about pleasure?
Find solutions and implement a project.
How do you think we can act on an individual level to make a difference?
To leave one's comfort zones, to not have a reference index, to think differently and to rethink what well-being really is. Is this well-being absolute or is it always relative to others.
And from a collective point of view?
Only in action but not too much in reflection, not too much in thinking and not too much in depending on science.
Because I think that science does not answer everything and science sometimes brings a certain arrogance: what is created by man has more value than what is created by nature and what is known has more value than what is thought or imagined.
What are the three most realistic things that need to be accomplished or done to change the world?
Finding solutions to avoid waste, I think that if we avoid waste we have made a huge step in this path towards a safe planet.
Two, it's all about nutrition, which is closely linked to health, so it leads us to prevention rather than cure. We put value on curing but in fact we have to come towards prevention.
And the third thing is to value nature, which is not necessarily done by man. People are willing to spend millions on a painting of a landscape but they don't want to spend a lot of money to preserve that landscape.
What do you think the world of tomorrow and the communities that make it up should look like?
Not to be in a certain formality in appearance, so to be able to work outside, to have meetings outside, to bring everything outside, schools, culture, interactions. Even if this place where we are is absolutely beautiful, why can't we do more outside? So it's rethinking what we do outside.
Thank you very much Guillaume.
Thank you Zelda.
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