Meet the newest member to our sustainability council Colleen Theron, tri-qualified solicitor and founder of CLT envirolaw, a niche company that provides sustainability, modern slavery, business and human rights consultancy and expertise to enable companies to meet both their legal obligations and develop voluntary best practice standards. Our sustainability council provide us with expertise from an array of luxury and sustainability industries and are responsible for reviewing and updating the assessment process annually, to ensure all applicants are verified in accordance with the most up-to-date knowledge and insight.
We meet Colleen to find out what drew her to the area of sustainability & who inspires her;
How did you come to work in the area of sustainability?
During my work as an environmental lawyer I was always interested in how legislation might drive company behaviour. So I started reading and researching more about Corporate Social Responsibility/ Sustainability legislation and voluntary initiatives taken by companies in this area. Whilst working with a publishing company their CSR Vice President invited me to a conference in London on human trafficking. I was astounded. I could not believe what I was hearing and simply could not walk away without doing something. I volunteered my skills with a charity (then went on to help set up a NGO to raise awareness in business on human trafficking) and increasingly got involved in business and human rights issues as part of my work in sustainability. I developed a passion to work with business to harness their power to implement change and founded CLT envirolaw with the purpose of providing expertise on these issues. I am also very interested in the link between environmental degradation and modern slavery so it feels like a natural progression in my career to tackle these issues. I feel like my work is a calling.
How do you define Modern Slavery?
In its most simplistic definition – it’s the exploitation of vulnerable people.
What change would you most like to see in the retail industry?
An honest approach to making a difference in their supply chains-using their influence where they can to ensure that their organizations and supply chains develop a best practice approach to tackling environmental and social issues, especially in relation to slavery. More collaboration is needed and real leadership. I would like to see less of a tick box approach.
Who inspires you?
People who are not afraid to be a voice of dissention for what is right notwithstanding the cost to themselves. There are a few of them that I have met in my life’s journey who have inspired me with their passion and resilience. And of course, as a South African, it is hard not to have been inspired by Nelson Mandela. I love his quote where he says “ learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
What is your personal luxury?
If it’s a question of retail therapy, then it has to be shoes! Love them. But in terms of life, its about connecting with the space around me- my family, the countryside and my thoughts and God.