Jack Leech 270x270

Jack Leech

Senior Corporate Client Manager
Charities Aid Foundation

T: +44 (0) 3000 123 219
E: corporate@cafonline.org

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Spotlight on a team member - Jack Leech

We spoke to Jack Leech, Senior Corporate Client Manager, about his role at CAF, who he'd invite to a dinner party and his thoughts on the future of corporate social responsibility.

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

Being notoriously bad in the morning, my short answer would be the thought of getting back in to bed later (that evening of course!)

What is your favourite thing about your role at CAF?

For me, it’s the impartiality of CAF and how this can allow for open and honest conversations with our clients. There are times when I truly feel like an extension of our clients’ CSR teams. It’s fascinating being able to objectively analyse common trends and challenges that different types of business are facing.

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

Having lived in Beijing for a few years I had the perfect base to explore some of Asia’s lesser travelled destinations.

In April 2010 I found myself on a plane bound for Pyongyang, North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). Entry was subject to a full background check and willingness to surrender your passport and mobile phone for the duration of your stay. The stay itself was confined to censorship, with two guides present at any one time, and followed an itinerary of pre-determined destinations to show the country as a thriving, self-sufficient, economic powerhouse.

The eeriest moment was being taken to see the embalmed Kim Il-Sung in his enormous Mausoleum and hearing our guide explain, with complete sincerity how ‘even the birds were crying’ when he died.

For me, the most interesting aspect of the trip was the frame of mind it put me in; the extreme propaganda you’re subjected to makes it very difficult to know what is real and what is not. I found myself questioning the smallest of details and whether they’d been staged to influence my thinking, or were in fact genuine.

The trip had a profound impact on my outlook on life and (as I’m sure colleagues will recognise) embedded a default scepticism in taking things at face value; I’m always needing to see evidence and present an alternative view.

Who would you invite to a dinner party?

My first move would be to scrap the idea of a dinner party and replace it with a trip to a ten-pin bowling alley. Sticking with the bowling theme I’d ask Jeff Bridges and John Goodman to come in character as Jeff "the Dude" Lebowski and Walter Sobchak, from The Big Lebowski. Joining them would be Saga Norén from The Bridge (although I’d be fully expecting her to bluntly decline), Arsene Wenger, Dave Gorman and Cerys Matthews.

I’d have serious doubts about the dynamism of the group but I guess that’s an issue I’ll never have to actually worry about.

What corporate responsibility trends do you see emerging?

As our consumerist economy runs headlong into a growing scarcity of raw materials, something will have to change and I can see CSR playing a key role in this by shifting business focus towards influencing and changing consumer behaviour.

I think CSR has traditionally grown out of a business need to help (re-)establish trust amongst consumers by internally examining and changing the way in which the business operates. I’d love to see the next CSR trend being for business to project this approach and look more externally at consumer behaviour and a product’s life cycle once it’s been sold.

There are some really interesting examples of this emerging in new companies like Zipcar but also established giants like Philips who are playing a role in shifting consumer behaviour away from a ‘consumer model’ to more of a ‘service model’ whereby a purchase is not actually owned but merely rented.

The same concept can be seen with the likes of Spotify, Netflix and Airbnb who are all changing the way in which consumers approach the idea of ‘ownership’ to be much more sustainable.