Wednesday 15 April 2020

Holly Menezes – Improving labour conditions in global supply chains

Holly Menezes - Senior Communications & Stakeholder Engagement Manager

Holly Menezes (English & French 2007) is working to improve the audit process in supply chains, encouraging companies to redeploy resources saved through the initiative to improve working conditions for their employees.

Her work has strong links to UN Sustainable Development Goal 8: to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. She told us about how her work is helping to improve working conditions.

How is your role linked to sustainability?

I’m the Senior Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the Social and Labor Convergence Program. We are a small, non-profit, multi-stakeholder initiative working in the apparel & footwear sector. We have brought together brands, suppliers, civil society and others to create a single, converged assessment framework that can replace all existing proprietary social audits with one single data-collection and verification process. This reduces audit fatigue and the audit burden on suppliers, allowing them to focus on real improvement activities. The companies we work with have committed to redeploying all resources saved through the elimination of duplicative social audits to improving working conditions.

“To me, sustainability means using our planet's resources - including our human resources - responsibly and ethically.”

Holly Menezes (English and French 2007)
Senior Communications & Stakeholder Engagement Manager Social & Labor Convergence Programme

How did studying at Leeds help preparing you for where you are today?

Studying at Leeds helped me to become a big-picture thinker; to analyse and problem-solve; and to be more aware of the world. In particular, my year abroad in France prepared for me for a career in Europe.

What sort of actions do you think individuals need to take in the next five years to create a sustainable future?

To me, sustainability means using our planet's resources - including our human resources - responsibly and ethically.
As individuals, we can all start with the choices we make in our apparel and footwear purchases. We can buy less, buy more mindfully and do more research on the practices of the brands we are buying from.

In 2019, UN updates outlined that although progress is being made toward goal 8, more progress is needed to increase employment opportunities, reduce informal employment and the gender pay gap, and to create secure working environments. Holly’s work in changing established practices to improve efficiency and working conditions around the world is helping towards achieving the goal of creating decent work for all.