Spring 2016

Spotlight on a team member - Laura Sharpe

What or who inspires you to get out of bed every morning?

I love being in bed, but I also have a massive fear of missing out. Every day something exciting or funny is going to happen, so I wouldn’t want to miss it by staying under the covers! 

What is your favourite thing about your role at CAF?

My favourite part of working at CAF is the people I get to meet and work with. I also love the variety of the things I do. I can spend my morning speaking with clients advising on their CSR budget or how to get more employees engaged in charitable activities; in the afternoon, I could be supporting my colleagues in answering a client query.

Where’s the most interesting place you have travelled to?

In 2011 I was lucky to be included in the pilot of the Government’s International Citizenship Service, a programme for young volunteers to work on an impact assessment for youth charity Restless Development in Nepal. I spent three months in a village in Nawalparasi and, while the work was very good, the most interesting thing was the people – they were incredibly welcoming. Almost everyone I met invited me to their homes and/or congratulated me on how very fat I was! It was at the height of summer; temperatures often reached 40 degrees and it was very humid. During the night frequent power cuts would force the whole village out of bed to escape the heat; sitting in the road in the dark, we’d chat together whilst trying to cool down.

Who would you invite to a dinner party?

Taylor Swift and Noel Gallagher would have to be there. They’ve never quite seen eye to eye in the past and Noel has said some rather mean things about Taylor’s music but I believe that if I could sit them down they’d really get on and could potentially collaborate.

I’d love Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, to come along. The Body Shop was the first cosmetic company to introduce fair trade to the cosmetics and toiletries industry and one of the first to prohibit testing on animals. This was one of the first examples of responsible business I’d come across and I was immediately fascinated by her drive and accomplishments. Sadly, she passed away in 2007, a year after the Body Shop was bought by L’Oréal. She had hoped that this sale would act as a ‘Trojan horse’ to encourage change on a larger scale, so I’d be interested to hear her reflections on what has transpired in the last ten years.

Also on my list is John Maynard Keynes. He pioneered the idea of government spending as an economic stimulus and a solution to underemployment; was a vocal advocate of women’s rights in the early 20th Century and had a very interesting love life. Keynes was also a bit of an egotist, and so to stop him dominating the party I’d invite Lisa Simpson. She’s super smart, sweet and assertive - so I think, conversationally, she’d be a great match for him.

Finally, I would invite actress/comedian Mindy Kaling and “human raised by elves” Buddy the Elf; both these guys could help lighten the mood if dinner party discussions got too heated.

What corporate responsibility trends do you see emerging?

One of the most exciting trends I see emerging is that more organisations are incorporating CSR into their corporate identity and purpose.

It’s great to see so many new brands emerging like Kresse and Elvis (a company that make homeware, stationery and fashion accessories out of disused fire hose) and Nudie jeans (a jeans company focused  on sustainability by fixing fashion rather than throwing it away).

These companies start their lives with a social aim and, as they grow, so does their impact. I’m seeing this in larger, established organisations. These organisations are starting to incorporate their social aims into all aspects of their business, including the marketing and distribution functions for example. The more brands become available and accessible the more our appetites as consumers grow – in future I hope we will make our buying decisions based on a product’s sustainability and social impact along side the price and the product itself.

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