Karin Olsson took on the role as Ethical Trading Officer at Jack Wills nearly one year ago. She has been involved in multiple aspects of the company including being independently responsible for the whole Ethical Trading Programme. Through diligence and solid communication, Karin is initiating new policies, a new CSR Strategy and plans to write the Modern Slavery Act statement 1 year before the company is legally obliged to report.
Setting the Scene
Jack Wills has been a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) since 2010. It is working on improving its sourcing strategy to one that is more responsible and hopes to minimise labour violations within its supply chain.
Achieving Rapid Social Impact
Upon joining Jack Wills, Karin recognised the CSR strategy was not meeting new and pressing needs and did not coincide with the company’s budget restraints. She took responsibility of rewriting the entire strategy which consisted of:
- Creating tools for suppliers. - These tools were aimed to help suppliers and factory managers to create a more ethical and safe work environment for workers, rather than focusing on commissioning audits and projects with external organisations. This would lead to more factories being compliant with the ETI Base Code
- Transparency in supply chain. - Karin saw an opportunity in tracing lower tier suppliers with no associated cost. By asking all the Chinese and Indian suppliers to name all their lower tiers, Karin was able to map out exactly where the company’s deeper supply chain is located and could identify the lower tiers in High Risk Areas. Karin hopes to be able to commission in-depth ethical assessments on these sites in the future
- Capacity building within the business. - Karin has started to create interactive workshops for employees, to disseminate best practice on Ethical Trade
- Manage the risks associated with Modern Slavery. – Karin has focused on creating toolkits, risk assessments, supplier training material and webinars
Creating a Lasting Legacy
Internally Karin has created a lasting legacy by changing company culture. She has strategies in place which involve workshops where all employees can cultivate a passion and understanding for ethical trade throughout the company. She aims to reinforce policies within the production team to ensure ethical considerations come into all buying decisions.
Externally Karin plans to execute webinars with suppliers creating a connection and engagement on issues such as modern slavery. This solution is cost effective and could create long-term impacts by providing suppliers with effective information from her toolkits and guidance notes.
Karin’s manager, Amanda McCullough, Technical Manager at Jack Wills stated:
“Karin approaches issues in an inquiring way, analysing all aspects and creating next steps and solutions that are realistic, flexible and robust. She has huge energy and focus in her role and works well independently while influencing teams and management to embrace ethical trade within the business. Karin has developed training, workshops and tools on a wide variety of issues to educate internal and external stakeholders. She is an asset to the company.”
Advice for Creating Positive Impact
“Think things through. It's better to take some time to really think about a problem and its possible solutions, rather than jumping into something that wasn't thought through properly. Discuss it with your colleagues, your family, friends, your partner - and have a plan that is flexible enough to absorb sudden changes, but robust enough to meet the challenges you already foresaw could come your way.”
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