It was here in the little village of La Gacilly that Yves Rocher was born, and where he enjoyed a carefree childhood wandering the moors and the Brocéliande forest. When his father died, he sought consolation in the countryside, and promised he would do good for his village. Nature inspired him, and he began making his first plant-based cosmetics. His brand grew, and so did his village, with the latter gradually coming alive again. Yves Rocher was a vocal opponent of rolling out France’s land consolidation policy in La Gacilly, where he was mayor. Digging up the hedgerows between the fields, and consolidating farmland into sprawling plots of land by felling ancient trees? Not on his watch. His commitment to fighting for nature was ahead of its time, and left a lasting impression on his descendants and the generations that came after him.
Jacques reminds me of Morel from Romain Gary’s novel. The author described him as ’the man who was unable to lose hope’. I’ve always seen Jacques as a man of action who never gives up.
A love of the land, passed down from father to son
Jacques Rocher shares his Breton roots, as well as his love of his village and the natural world, with his father. Just like him, he was elected mayor of La Gacilly. At the time, the environment and global warming weren’t yet buzzwords, but as a close observer of the natural world Jacques spent all day working alongside his brothers, and became aware of just how fragile and vulnerable it was.
One question haunted him: how could he help protect our beautiful planet? His solution was to set up the Yves Rocher Foundation in 1991. Since then, Jacques has travelled the length and breadth of the planet meeting men and women committed to leading initiatives that help nature and biodiversity.