A few years back, I helped out as a moderator at a conference on the sustainable sea. During the break I told an active participant, he was in his early thirties, that I enjoyed the atmosphere of idealism. So I really had seen that wrong. ‘Idealism is from the previous generation. Who deep down didn’t believe that ‘it’ really changes. We are just pragmatic realists’.
From Sunday through Tuesday, in just such a role, I actively helped out at an international consortium led by the research group for multinational corporations, SOMO. At stake were working conditions in the leather chain (shoes and clothing). Participants came from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.
And again, I enjoyed it.
Conducting research, creating and implementing a public campaign and organizing advocacy was not easy online during the pandemic. Meeting each other in person, sharing experiences and knowledge, and making new plans is then a doubly pleasant experience.
Last Friday, the public campaign was launched in Germany, with a film that is WELL WORTH WATCHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6TmTMcfZtY
There is every reason for consumers to think twice about the shoes and clothing they wear. More transparency from the business side for a good choice is a clear wish that is on the table. On the second day, a representative of the business community also visited, for an instructive dialogue.
With participants we made several ‘street movies’ in Utrecht, calling for support with a signature, soon to be seen.
Such an encounter with this somewhat unfamiliar world for me is enriching. Passionate people who have been active for years with younger, realistic pragmatists (?!), both with a great sense of responsibility. To see and experience again that borders are just an agreement, and at the same time experience the differences in culture and style. Hearing how companies themselves wrestle with the logic in which they are trapped, between result and labour rights. And, once again, to realize that creativity remains a great weapon, for those who want to make a difference, for all ages.