Every year, the Plant for the Planet programme initiated by Jacques Rocher and the Yves Rocher Foundation stops off in La Gacilly for a day of tree-planting.
Jacques, this event takes place in the village that is emblematic of the Yves Rocher brand. Is it something of a metaphor for you?
Yes, there’s definitely a symbolic aspect to it. When you look at La Gacilly and its surroundings, the hedgerows here escaped relatively unscathed from the land-clearing movement. But to me, planting trees is a way of demonstrating my attachment to the region, and the deep roots I have in this village.
It’s so important to plant, but we must also remember to protect what we already have.
How do you approach this landscape you know so well?
Like my father before me, I am watchful about hedgerow protection. As an example, when we were building our industrial VillesGeffs facility for the Yves Rocher brand in La Gacilly, the architect immediately submitted plans that involved digging up everything in the surroundings. I went to him directly and asked him to move the site so we could preserve the sunken lanes that are part of our environmental heritage and relics of our farming history. It’s so important to plant, as we’re doing with the Yves Rocher Foundation, but we also have to develop land while protecting what we already have.
Is it a way of paying tribute to your father and his commitment to protecting nature?
Yes. My father instilled these values in me. My commitment to the cause stems from him. He had an almost spiritual relationship with the land. He taught me how important it is to preserve our sense of awe and to make time to reconnect with nature. Continuing this legacy is important to me, because it’s a way of moving forwards while nurturing and harvesting the benefits of positive action.
Every year, Yves Rocher employees rally round in different countries to plant alongside you. Why is this so important?
Companies and brands have financial and corporate obligations, but they also have a duty to uphold social and environmental policies, too. They’ll increasingly be asked to lead action on the ground, and that’s a good thing. To us, it seemed essential to get the teams involved by encouraging them to start planting with the Yves Rocher Foundation.
Thanks to our sponsor, Yves Rocher, and its customers, we will soon have planted 100 million trees in France and around the world.
What’s the atmosphere like at these planting days?
The teams are always really pleased to be taking direct action and getting first-hand experience, with employees mingling with each other and meeting farmers, nursery growers and other environmentalists. The brand is the Yves Rocher Foundation’s biggest partner. Thanks to its support and that of its customers, we will soon have planted 100 million trees in La Gacilly, France, and around the world.
Taking action is worth more than a thousand speeches.
Your commitment spans the globe, but is it important to you to come back to Brittany and anchor the project here on your ancestral land?
It’s good to feel connected to your roots. We’re lucky to have La Gacilly, where we can come together and recharge our batteries. There’s an authenticity here, which speaks to 60 years of hard work and earnest commitment. A desire to keep setting up new activities and initiatives is what brings me back here time and again. Maintaining this dynamic is the best way of passing it on to our teams. Taking action is worth more than a thousand speeches.
If you want to find out more about our tree planting programme in France and around the world,
discover Plant for the Planet.