FRIBOURG AS SEEN BY…
GOOD FOOD CAN MAKE LIFE BETTER
The 2,002-metre-high Moléson, shown here with the Château de Gruyères in the foreground.
Whenever she can, Paola Ghillani packs her bags and heads off to the canton of Fribourg to visit her family and friends. The daughter of Italian migrants, she made a name for herself as the Director of the Max Havelaar Foundation (1999 - 2005). Now based in Zurich, Ghillani spent part of her childhood and all of her adolescence in the Gruyère region. “This is where I go to when I really need to recharge my batteries”, confides the founder of Paola Ghillani & Friends, a company which advises on sustainable corporate management. As well as the landscape “which is surprisingly untouched for such a highly-developed region”, it is the traditional local produce that really gets her pulse racing. She firmly believes that it is precisely in food production that the sustainable development potential of the canton lies, “As both a farming region and an incubator of innovative start-ups, Fribourg has what it takes to become a centre of excellence in this field!”
A FRIBOURG ALTERNATIVE TO GDP
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, there were growing calls – from, among others, the then Cantonal Minister of Economic Affairs, Beat Vonlanthen – to stop relying exclusively on GDP as a measurement of economic performance and come up with other indicators to measure the success of a region’s economy. The Fribourg authorities took the bull by the horns and tasked Paola Ghillani to develop an alternative index that included other parameters. The IDeal Index, which was unveiled in 2013, applies the following formula: life satisfaction x life expectancy - environmental impact + socioeconomic values. As the founder of the Paola Ghillani & Friends consultancy explains, “Bottom-up thinking informed our decision to apply this indicator to the regional rather than the national level.”
Based on their own statistical data, almost 150 member regions of the ARE (Assembly of European Regions), including the canton of Fribourg, were analysed. The findings of the exploratory study showed that the canton performed very well on the ‘life satisfaction’ parameter. The authorities seized on this result to devise and launch a promotional campaign “Fribourg Happy”. Work continues apace on the IDeal Index, with its creators now focusing their efforts on making it interactive: “We want to tap into the power of social media in order to give citizens the opportunity to play an active part in the indicator’s development.”
Paola Ghillani's favourites ❤ : see photographs below