Founder and CEO of SEP Jordan
What is your background in Sustainability/Impact Communication if any?
In my previous life, I worked for 20 years in the Investment Management business, first as a stockbroker and then as a portfolio manager. Sustainability was one of the key pillars for my valuation of the companies I analyzed and played an important role in my decision to invest or not.
What does Sustainability mean to your organization?
SEP Jordan is a social enterprise – our main mission is the generation of positive social impact – but we’re also very mindful of our impact on the environment. Most of our work is carried out by hand and we prefer to use natural fibres to manmade ones wherever possible.
On the one hand, we create accessories for the home and fashion which are timeless and hand-embroidered. On the other, we try to make sure that we source materials that are the least damaging to our planet.
Our work directly enhances a lot of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as 1. No Poverty, 3. Good Health and Well-Being, and no. 10. Reduced Inequalities among others.
Why do you do what you do?
I developed my private sector experience in parallel with my passion for refugees, waiting for the right time to make the two come together. I created our lifestyle and fashion brand SEP Jordan the moment when I felt I was able to combine everything I learned on the stockmarket to enable talented human beings, who happen to be refugees, to get above the poverty line.
How do you guarantee success of your measures?
Our mission is to bring thousands of refugees above the poverty line, empowered by their skills and talent. Every business decision we make is consistent with our mission. We are also a certified B Corporation.
“ Our mission is to bring thousands of refugees above the poverty line, empowered by their skills and talent. Every business decision we make is consistent with our mission. We are also a certified B Corporation."
Is your purpose grounded in your organizational culture? Do you also communicate failures or only successes?
Our B Corp certification score provides, as objective as possible, a measure for the results of our work – we also detail positive and negative results in our Annual Social Impact Reports. We strongly believe in communicating both successes and failures: it is needed to build genuine trust.
Do you feel that differentiating yourself through impact has brought an added value to your business and reduces risks? In what way?
Social Impact is a double-edged sword: it is our job to leverage those situations where our social impact purpose is seen as added value and vice versa move away from those where it is seen as a source of risk or complexity.
Do you see a change in behavior in your consumers?
Consumer behaviour is changing fast, and this makes us incredibly optimistic about the future
How do you integrate Diversity, Inclusion and Equity into your organizational culture?
All of our staff at Jordan are refugees, our company was created to bring them above the poverty line and to change the perception of refugees worldwide. Our CEO is a woman: we like to think we are a rather “diverse” organization!
What are your organization’s goals for the next year in terms of sustainability?
We would like to be carbon neutral by the end of 2022. It won’t be too hard, because our products are mainly made by hand – by definition there’s no CO2 generated by hand embroidery.
The carbon footprint that we do generate comes mainly from shipping goods from our suppliers to Jordan and then from Jordan to our customers. We are working with our shipping and courier suppliers who are putting new measures in place –we have for example moved from your traditional plastic DHL bags to work with Aramex: they look like plastic bags but they’re actually biodegradable