Board of Pathfinders

The Yves Rocher Foundation – Institut de France set up a “Board of Pathfinders” compound of experts from diverse horizons, so that they can share and discuss about their works and concerns : Lauriane Mouysset (CNRS National Center for Scientific Research ), Yolaine de la Bigne (Neoplanet), Bénédicte Faivre Tavignot (HEC), Pierre-Henri Gouyon (National Museum of Natural History, AgroParisTech, SciencesPo Paris, ENS Paris – researcher at the Institute of Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity laboratory, the MNHN-CNRS-UPMC joint research unit (7205)), and Raphaël Souchier (consultant and expert of the local economy).


Pierre-Henri Gouyon was born on 25 December 1953. Admitted to the Agro (Agronomic Institute of Paris-Grignon, now AgroParisTech) in 1972, he became an agricultural engineer in 1975, obtained a doctorate in ecology at the University of Montpellier in 1976 and then obtained an engineering doctorate in genetics at the Agro in 1978, a state doctorate in Sciences at the University of Montpellier in 1982 and a postgraduate diploma in Philosophy at the University of Letters of Montpellier in 1984.

Pierre-Henri Gouyon was born on 25 December 1953. Admitted to the Agro (Agronomic Institute of Paris-Grignon, now AgroParisTech) in 1972, he became an agricultural engineer in 1975, obtained a doctorate in ecology at the University of Montpellier in 1976 and then obtained an engineering doctorate in genetics at the Agro in 1978, a state doctorate in Sciences at the University of Montpellier in 1982 and a postgraduate diploma in Philosophy at the University of Letters of Montpellier in 1984.

Hired to teach at the Agro in 1976, he was a professor at the University of Paris-Sud (Orsay) from 1988 to 2005, and at the École Polytechnique from 1994 to 2008 (Vice-President of the Department of Biology 2001-2006).

He has assumed various responsibilities on the board of the department of Life Sciences at the CNRS (Deputy Scientific Director in 2000-2001). He has been a member of the CNRS Ethics Committee for Life Sciences, the National Council of Universities, the National Committee for Scientific Research, the ANR “Ecosystems and Sustainable Development” committee, the Science Council of the Jacques Monod Conferences of the CNRS and the INSERM Ethics Committee.

He is currently a professor at the National Museum of Natural History (since 2005), at AgroParisTech (since 1988), at Sciences Po (since 2009) and at the ENS (since 2012) and carries out his research within the botanical team in the MNHN-CNRS OSEB joint research unit (7205). In 2008, he was elected to the Academia Europaea (London).

He gives many lectures on issues related to evolution, genetics, ecology, biodiversity and bioethics. He is widely involved in debates about science-society relations in general. More especially, he is concerned with the social consequences of the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution on our perception of the living world as well as the cultivation of transgenic plants. He sits or has sat on various national committees dealing with science issues in society and was the rapporteur of Group 1 (Research & Society) at the national conference on research in 2004. He is a member of the Scientific Councils of the French Agency for Biodiversity and the Think-Tank of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation.


Raphaël Souchier lives in Brittany. An author and lecturer, he also works as a European consultant on sustainable local economies and collective intelligence. Over the past 25 years, he has led eleven cooperation networks for the European Union and projects concerning exchanges of experience between local authorities, universities and businesses across the continent. Raphaël is multilingual and has called a number of countries home, including the United States. He has also served as an expert with UNESCO, UNHCR and the Council of Europe. He holds an MBA (HEC Paris) and is a graduate of the Universities of Paris (Bachelor of Sociology; a postgraduate diploma in ethnology and the science of religions; a university diploma in mediation and conflict management).

Book: Made in local, Emploi, croissance, durabilité : et si la solution était locale ? [Made in Local. Jobs, Growth, Sustainability: What if the Solution was Local?]

After the crazy decades of finance first, the time has come to re-root our economies…
Our food, our energy, our health, our money … In many fields, globalised rationales direct our daily life, with their attendant excesses. There are, however, alternatives: a rebalancing process is developing which rehabilitates all things local, cooperation, short circuits, sustainable development and democracy.

Having gone out to meet many businesspeople who have embarked on this path, in France and elsewhere, Raphaël Souchier reports back on their experiences, from the creation of local food systems to industrial relocation, from the invention of financing tools to that of new media.
He is particularly interested in the BALLE movement, the pioneer of this new approach, which brings together more than 30,000 local businesses in 80 cities and regions of North America.

Businesspeople, traders, farmers, academics, and citizens of both continents have told him about their challenges, but also their vision and their daily commitment to change society and rebuild their territories.

Little by little the contours are emerging of a “new local economy” which restores meaning to work and cooperation, enabling entire territories to be revitalised. What if the solution was local? “Made in Local” provides a whole host of ideas, experiences and tools to think and live the economy differently.

Raphaël Souchier’s book is a blend of personal accounts, interviews and analyses of these new local economies, channelling innovative and inspiring solutions.


Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot is an affiliate professor of strategy at the HEC-Paris business school. She is also co-founder and director of the "Social business / Enterprise and Poverty" chair and of the HEC Master's in "Sustainable Development Management", created in 2008 and 2003, respectively. Since October 2013, she has been the Executive Director of the Society & Organizations (SnO) Center, responsible for integrating societal innovation into teaching at the HEC. She is a founding member of Action Tank Social & Business. Her research focuses on the processes which make inclusive economy projects springboards for reverse innovation and strategic renewal for business. Before returning to HEC in 2003, she spent ten years working in Management Control at Philips and then in Management/Organisation Consulting at Euréquip. She graduated from HEC in 1988 and obtained her PhD at the University of Lyon 3 in 2012.

Book: Social Business and Base of the Pyramid: Levers for Strategic Renewal

Social business or Base of the Pyramid (BoP) projects carried out in emerging countries by the multinationals of developed countries have a dual objective. They enable poor people to buy goods and services to which they have little access and are also new growth drivers for these major companies. Beyond this development challenge, these projects initiated with poor populations and players in civil society are powerful levers for innovation, even reverse innovation, not to mention strategic renewal. In her book, Bénédicte analyses in detail cases of BoP initiatives by multinationals such as Danone, Schneider Electric, Renault, Essilor and Bel. She explores their innovative role in the strategy of these companies, enabling them to reinvent themselves and be simultaneously more sustainable and competitive in the face of environmental and social challenges


A journalist for the press and radio (France Inter, RTL, France Info, Europe 1) and author of several books, Yolaine de la Bigne became one of the first "rurbans" by settling in the countryside while continuing to work in Paris, leaping from high-speed TGV to local train in order to deliver her daily opinion piece on France-Info radio entitled "Quelle Epoque Ethique" [What an Ethical Era].

She became tuned in to ecology thanks to her work alongside Nicolas Hulot (French minister responsible for the environment and energy) on a TV programme about Ushuaia. This is how she realised the urgent need for action and embarked on various initiatives in defence of the environment: replanting miles of hedgerows with her husband the landscape architect Régis Guignard (which earned her the 2002 “Terre de Femmes” award from the Yves Rocher Foundation), writing the “‘Ecolo-J’ section in Jonas magazine (2001), producing opinion pieces for radio dubbed “les bonnes nouvelles de l’environnement” [Good environmental news] for Nature et Découvertes broadcast on a hundred or so local radio stations (2006), creating the Fêt Nat’ (as of 2006: a festival of nature and ecology in Paris with fashion shows, recycling workshops, live performances, etc.), an event that earned her the title of “Femme en Or 2007”. She published “L’agenda vert 2009” [The 2009 Green Agenda] with the Arthaud publishing house and in 2007 launched the first free environmental magazine, Néoplanète, her site and the first web radio station mixing round-the-clock music with information on saving the planet.

A committed environmental campaigner, particularly through her website and her magazine (Néoplanète), Yolaine is also a staunch feminist, belonging to this new generation of women who are uninhibited, sexy, funny, at ease with men and who want to change attitudes and combat problems such as violence against women , which sadly remains all too present in our societies. Her latest book, “Sois belle et bats-toi – a manifeste féministe des femmes féminines” [Be Beautiful and Fight – a Feminist Manifesto for Feminine Women], published in 2012, makes the case for a fairer and more caring relationship between women and men.

Taking the view that environmental information is now shared by everyone and widely taken up in the media, Yolaine de la Bigne has turned her attention to another aspect of efforts to save the planet: animal intelligence, with the idea that humans will only be able to save their environment with the help of animals that have retained an essential ecological intelligence. In August 2016, she created the Animal Summer University at the Château de la Bourbansais in Brittany, bringing together specialists in animal intelligence, whose lectures are included in the book “L’animal est-il l’avenir de l’homme?” [Are Animals the Future of Mankind?] as well as the “l’Animal et l’homme” [Animals and Humans] website devoted to animal intelligence (


Holder of a PhD in ecological economics, Lauriane Mouysset is a research fellow at France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). After studying environmental economics and ecology at the Ecole Normale Superieure, she continued her research work at the National Museum of Natural History in France and then at the University of Cambridge in the UK. She investigates the sustainable management of our societies within the ecosystems in which they exist to develop interdisciplinary models. While working on her PhD at the National Museum of Natural History and her post-doctorate at the University of Cambridge, she specifically focused on farming issues and agricultural public policies faced with the challenge of biodiversity.

Book: “Repenser le défi de la biodiversité” [Rethinking the Challenge of Biodiversity]

Lauriane Mouysset’s book provides a brief introduction to ecological economics, presented by the author as “an academic current that might be interpreted as the scientific counterpart of political ecology”. It sets out the methodology and the theoretical ambitions of this recent discipline, the aim of which is to propose a new way of jointly considering economic and ecological problems, with the goal of offering decision-making support to public policy makers. While ecological economics can be applied to different types of ecological problems, the issues of biodiversity and its preservation lie at the heart of the approach.