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Commitment is at the heart of their business. These men and women are inspired by the world to act differently and sustainably, making their environment a channel for expression, creativity, innovation and solidarity. Finance, culture, crafts, industry and the media are just some of the fields embodied by these personalities, who agreed to take part in the Proust questionnaire in La Mèche mode. What are their enduring secrets? As far as you’re concerned, they’re spilling the beans.

Production: Cornland Studio

Gregory Chollet is an entrepreneur who puts sustainability at the heart of everything he does. A marketing specialist driven by meaningful projects, he is involved in a number of organizations aiming to have a positive impact on our environment, whether social, economic or environmental. Gregory has always oscillated between the technical and the artistic. His curiosity led him to study for a Master’s degree in economics, followed by a Master’s degree in computer science at EPFL, and an MBA a few years later. His professional career has been punctuated by a variety of entrepreneurial experiences. He co-founded Loyco in 2013, one of the first BCorp-certified companies in Switzerland, which employs around 110 people and operates without a hierarchy. Gregory coordinates the Zooo communications agency, which grew out of Loyco. In 2018, Gregory co-directed the feature documentary “Demain Genève”. An unexpected success, the film entered the box-office in French-speaking Switzerland and remained in cinemas for over 25 weeks. Gregory is also coordinator of the committee of the Chambre d’Economie Sociale de Genève.


Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Grégory Chollet and the question of who I am is often a question that I find difficult to answer. Today I would describe myself first and foremost as a entrepreneur looking to make an impact.
Your current state of mind?
I’m fundamentally an optimist, and perhaps that’s a state of mind that’s necessary if you want to have an entrepreneurial career. Even if the situation isn’t necessarily the best we’ve ever known, and is probably one of the worst in our history, I’m still optimistic, particularly in terms of the impact it’s 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 it mean to be green today?
Already it’s a term I’m not sure I particularly like, perhaps because it’s a bit politically colored. I think 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’m inspired by a lot of people and I think that’s important. I’m inspired by sports, business and art. Above all, these people inspire me because they show a field of possibilities. Whatever the field, inspiration ultimately means showing that you can. That’s what we’ve been trying to do as part of the
Demain Genève
is to show that we can spread and nurture the field of possibilities.
How did your desire for commitment come about, what was the trigger if there was one? 
That’s a good question, but I’m not sure there was a fundamental click. I think it came naturally. Even when I was younger, you’d have to ask my mom, 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 get things done, make progress and then learn. That’s how I’ve always wanted to move forward, because by doing things you learn and that’s how you can have an impact.
How does this commitment manifest itself in your day-to-day work?
It’s evident in the many different projects I’m involved in. These are all projects that give me great pleasure. Besides, people always tell me that I have an agenda that doesn’t look like anything, but that’s because I wanted it to. Finally, I think that the day my schedule changes is the day I lose interest in projects, and I don’t think that will be good news.
How do you integrate the notion of sustainability into your business?
I believe 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 branches.
It’s the same for my actions. I think that in everything we do, we have to think about 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 people, is to change perceptions and get people to change their ideas and visions.
As I like to say, we’re talking about transition, and transition means change, and change means support for change, and that’s something we mustn’t neglect. In other words, if we want a transition, we have to accompany the change and accept that mentalities have to change, that it takes time and effort. That’s 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’ve said it in part, but what are the concrete solutions you’ve put in place place to change things?
Above all, it’s through my involvement. I’m lucky enough to be on the board of the chamber of social economy called “Chambre d’économie sociale et solidaire”.
. The aim is to have an impact within a local economic bubble, which is our own. Then my main involvement is through Loyco, which is one of the activities that drives me the most: it’s our involvement in governance models, because today governance is “soft innovation”, which is extremely important. We can fundamentally change things by implementing more inclusive governance models. And then there are other volunteer projects, because I believe we’re lucky enough to live in a relatively wealthy society, and that it’s in our interest to give something back. I think that today the most beautiful thing we can give is time. 
Is the way to get back to being human at heart?
I hope we’ve never left before we have to come back. Behind everything there is Man. My core 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 these are mechanisms that are extremely important if we want to be able to change, to have an impact. That’s why I think the governance model is extremely important:
giving people room to express themselves is a very important lever for innovation. 
How has the pandemic changed your relationship with the world? 
Objectively speaking, the pandemic didn’t change much in my relationship with the world, because I was already one of the sensitive people. On the other hand, I’m glad to see that, again from an optimistic point of view,
this pandemic has forced people to turn to more local solutions
. This awareness, unfortunately reactive, has taken place. I’m not saying it was necessary, but there is a positive aspect to this pandemic. It changed little for me other than to reinforce my ideas about the importance of focusing on our local economy. 
Tell me your fondest memory of nature. 
My most beautiful nature memory will probably be the next one, but I run in the mountains and I’m lucky enough to be able to do so almost every weekend. My best memory was the last one, a week ago, when I had the chance to run in our beautiful Fribourg pastures, as I’m originally from Fribourg. I was alone on a path at the 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 need to create links, so we also need to know how to create links with nature. 
If you were a tree what would you be?
I’m not very good at botany, that’s for sure, but I’d probably be a local tree, probably a pine tree, a thorn tree, because at least I’d have the chance to live through each season with my finery, which isn’t the case with most other trees. 
What natural ability or skill 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 the good fortune to have an extremely varied cycle, to travel a lot while remaining local at the same time. There’s something about water that fascinates me, so I think I’d like to be water. 
Your favourite season?
My favorite season is clearly spring, when nature reclaims its rights a little more strongly, the sun starts to caress our skin, and we can finally get out and enjoy nature. It’s 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 and the impact of our actions.
We’re made of inconsistencies, of certain oppositions that we have to accept, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve them. If you think about the impact of your actions, if every day you try to improve just a little bit, by the end of the year you’ll have made great strides.
Your favorite landscape? 
I like being at the top of Le Pralet, which is a small mountain in the canton of Fribourg, because you have a view of the city of Lausanne, the mountains and the lake. I think it’s a point of view that allows you to see many 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, notably a neighboring country, there’s a kind of visual pollution that’s driven a lot by advertising, even if what I’m telling you is very contradictory because I’m a fan of advertising. But print advertising as 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 entire cycle, and on biodiversity. I notice that most people don’t realize the impact of rising temperatures.
And then I’d like us to find ways of continuing to travel while having less impact
because I think travel is still an extremely enriching experience. Today, it’s true that there’s a kind of social pressure to travel because we know it has a negative impact. To what extent will we be able to make trips that have an impact, perhaps not positive but at least less negative, so as to continue to feed the 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, and travel is a form of inspiration. 
What’s the one anti-sustainable gesture you’re having trouble giving up?
I think it’s still meat consumption. I’ve reduced my meat consumption considerably, I still eat small quantities but I know that the impact is not positive.
Which green sin do you find most indulgent?
We were talking before about travel, and I’m still 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 pretty unhealthy. People who want to travel for enrichment, for inspiration, I think that’s something I’m relatively indulgent about.
What can no longer be found in your kitchen?
You can’t find many products that I haven’t bought elsewhere than in an area close to me, even in Switzerland.
What gesture for the environment has made you feel good?
There are several. Every time I see the governance we’ve put in place, even if it’s perhaps less for the environment it’s still sustainable development, I feel a certain pleasure. If we’re talking about the more environmental dimension, it may seem a little peculiar but
I like sorting quite a lot, there may be a little psychorigid side to it, but I like sorting, I feel I’m doing my bit.
What preconceived notion about ecolos have you abandoned?
Again, I’m not a fan of the term green. In any case, in the beginning, ecologists were seen as outsiders, but today they’re pioneers, forerunners and saviors 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 spheres.
Your biggest contradiction? 
Unfortunately, I think I have a lot of them, but you have to face up to them. In my everyday choices, it’s true that there are still some foods, like meat in particular, that are a form of contradiction. There are certain products – as I said, there are few foreign products left in my kitchen – that I still like to eat, such as avocado. These are consumer items. I try to be as fair as possible with my mobility, even if it’s not always easy. I invite you to try going on vacation with your family by train – it’s not easy!
Your sustainable motto?
There’s always room for improvement, and I like the idea of every day being a little better than the last. Which objectively I’m not, because once again we’re full of contradictions, but in any case I think I’m one of those people who pay attention to this and try to get involved in projects to get things moving.
Your idea of happiness?
For me, what’s linked to happiness is pleasure, so it’s about having activities that allow us to enjoy ourselves, the first thing perhaps being a little more self-centered. There’s a second aspect of happiness that’s again linked to pleasure, but it’s that of giving pleasure to other people, whether they’re close friends or family. It’s feeling aligned with the people around you, with what you’re involved in, with what you do, and I think that’s what makes me happy above all else. 
What can we do at an individual level to make a difference ?
I don’t think it’s easy to work on an individual level. I’m a great believer in the impact 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 B Corp certification stands for, companies can do good, and I think they have a real role to play. Finally, a company that suggests a certain number of things to its employees, obviously with a positive impact, is bound to have greater leverage. A company can reach out to one, ten, a hundred people, which is obviously much more effective than having to convince a hundred people directly.
What’s your utopia?
To think that everyone has a good background. I often say that the extreme of optimism is utopia so maybe is it.
More realistically , what three things do you think are essential to changing the world?
I think it’s extremely important to be able to question yourself. Have the ability to understand others. If we question ourselves, we understand others. And then has the capacity to carry out projects, to push actions, to take a certain number of actions. I think that if you put these three things together it should make a good cocktail positively explosive.
What should the new world community look like to you? 
I think it should already meet the three elements I mentioned: the ability to question oneself, to put oneself in other people’s shoes, and then the desire to take on projects and make things happen. I think that’s what the new world community is all about. 
Thank you very much Grégory!
We’d love to!

We’d love to hear your inspiring stories! If you’d like to try your hand at the Proust questionnaire, or share your experience, commitment, tips or gripes, go to the “Share with us ” discussion forum on the La Mèche platform, here:

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