GLOBAL CSR sits down with Head of CSR Lea Juliussen
Head of CSR at the industry organisation Denmark’s Restaurants & Cafes (DRC): “The Professional Network Meeting provides me with valuable insights into CSR”.
We caught up with Lea Marie Toft Juliussen, at the quarterly Professional Network Meeting hosted by GLOBAL CSR.
Lea Marie Toft Juliussen is the Head of CSR at the industry organisation Denmark’s Restaurants & Cafes (DRC) which is the largest representative for restaurants, cafes, bars and the nightlife industry in Denmark. Advising all of the members of the industry organisation on sustainability issues, the industry initiative called REGA, contributes to 16 ambitious companies on implementing the UN Guiding Principles for Business (UNGPs) and the OECD Guidelines; focussing on human rights, environment and anti-corruption. From policy commitments to managing responsibility in business relationships, GLOBAL CSR assists REGA and their members with implementing the global standard on social, environmental and economic sustainability.
REGA is unique in that it is a global front runner. Being the first industry initiative association that is thoroughly implementing the UNGPs and asking their members to collaborate in the same way. Historically, the food and beverage industry has had problematic issues relating to human rights.Thus, REGAs initiative strives to turn these issues upside down, becoming a torchbearer rather than lagging behind with implementing international standards. Additionally, it is a way for REGA to have a stronger position when influencing CSR policies as well as the rest of the food and beverage industry.
“So in my organisation, we have an internal focus and then, of course, an external focus when it comes to implementing the UNGPs. […] The key is to take it step-by-step, putting forward what the companies need to have in place. First of all, to be a part of the industry initiative ‘REGA’, you have to be a member of the UN Global Compact. Next step, we look at the due diligence process, and we start by making a policy commitment, then we look at the impact assessments, and we take it step-by-step.”
Quarterly, GLOBAL CSR provides a unique platform for professionals who are in the process of implementing the global minimum standard for Responsible Business Conduct: The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. By meeting quarterly, professionals can share their experiences with implementing the UNGPs as well as inspiring each other with implementation efforts and best practices. Lea Marie Toft Juliussen participates in this Network as a representative from REGA.
“I decided to join the Professionals Network because sometimes when you work in this field, you are a lone soldier and even though there is a significant focus on CSR in the restaurant industry and my organisation, I am the only one with the expertise within my organisation, and I think that that is the case for a lot of CSR professionals. Therefore, it is even more relevant for people working within the field to have a network where you can discuss specific challenges and issues.”
At each meeting, there is a new topic where the professionals discuss the latest international news, developments and trends as well as gaining insights and guidance from GLOBAL CSR consultancy experts.
“I think that the Professional Network Meetings give me more capacity to understand background knowledge. For example, in the meeting today, we addressed specific legal issues and expectations to mandatory due diligence legislation coming from the EU. These things are not easy to figure out by yourself. You know that every time you come to the network, you will be updated on the issues in the context of business and human rights.”
At the Professional Network Meetings, professionals from different industries meet, contributing to a comprehensive discussion on the differences they experience in the different kinds of businesses.
A collaborative atmosphere at the meetings has enabled comprehensive discussions on the lived experiences of businesses from diverse sectors, and how they are overcoming the challenges of sustainability-focused business.
Lea further elaborates on the topic of the latest meeting, reiterating the value of sharing experiences with people from different businesses.
“Today we discussed the investors’ point of view within CSR, and I think that is very relevant. We also see in the restaurant industry that many investors are interested in CSR. I think especially now, because of the COVID crisis, many companies will also need investments, and investors are demanding more and more from the companies. So it is interesting for me to hear about that perspective, and how far they are in the process of actually not only putting forward demands for CSR, as a more fluffy term but correctly putting forward demands for implementing the UNGPs and the OECD guidelines. Meeting across industries is really interesting because I am very invested in the CSR agenda, so it is great for me to learn from other perspectives. Meeting in this network is also a way for me to learn and grow in my professional life.”