For the past 15 years, Gilles Vanderpooten has been making a positive, tangible, and measurable impact in society. During his first year as a master’s student at Audencia Business School in Nantes, France, Vanderpooten created the Nantes Environmental Film Festival to increase awareness of the fragility of our planet. The first festival, attracting 1,500 participants, broadened understanding of our collective responsibility to a sustainable environment. Six years later, Vanderpooten met and collaborated with French ambassador Stéphane Hessel, then age 93, on the book titled Engagez-vous (Get Involved). The bestseller was translated into 17 languages.
Since 2015, Vanderpooten has been director of the French NGO Reporters d’Espoirs, which uses the media to highlight people working for the common good throughout the world. The organization promotes constructive, solutions-based journalism, reflecting the complexity of the world and providing avenues for understanding, action, and commitment.In 2013, with the support of France’s Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Reporters d'Espoirs launched La France des Solutions, a program that uses the media to engage and thus mobilize French society. Today, through more than 50 different media sources, the program reaches a cumulative audience of 25 million people. It increases the visibility of citizens, entrepreneurs, farmers, public figures, and associations that have initiated and engaged in actions toward sustainability of the planet.
Corporate social responsibility is embedded in all teaching at Audencia. Vanderpooten believes that the school’s values and approach to sustainability have nurtured him at each step of his career. They encouraged him to create a student association and establish the environmental film festival. As a student, Vanderpooten was able to meet with innovators and leaders of corporations, startups, and businesses. Audencia’s multidimensional ecosystem provided a bustling and diverse environment that brought different actors together around a shared theme and inspired Vanderpooten’s innovative talent—the capacity to map out and identify individuals and organizations working for the common good and bring them together into a single ecosystem.
Vanderpooten worked on sustainability at Grant Thornton and later promoted the European social economy sector at Credit Mutuel. There he applied the writing and interviewing skills developed at Audencia to a book project that would later be published as the Tour de France du développement durable (The Tour de France of Sustainability). He has gone on to co-write with diverse thought leaders including diplomats, screenwriters, activists, designers, and media personnel. He continues to transform the editorial field by following the thread initiated at Audencia: giving meaning to management.
Through his writing and the events he organizes, Vanderpooten inspires current and future leaders in many fields. Since 2013, Vanderpooten has organized the annual La France des Solutions to highlight inspiring environmental initiatives and the people behind them. The event brings 3,500 business leaders, media, NGOs, and other changemakers together to focus on social innovation, the media, and technology for the common good.
In recognition of his accomplishments and ability to inspire young adults, Vanderpooten was selected to join the first Franco-British Young Leaders in 2017.