Interview with Ashley Davis, Global Manager of Corporate Social & Environmental Responsibility at Cole Haan
Cole Haan joined SAI as a Corporate Member in 2016.
SAI: Tell us about Cole Haan
Ashley Davis (AD): Cole Haan was founded in 1928, and was reborn in 2013, as an independent company, for the first time in 25 years, after having been previously owned by Nike. With the brand’s new independence, it is striving to transform from a multi-million dollar U.S. footwear company to a multi-billion dollar global lifestyle brand.
SAI: Why was Cole Haan interested in working with SAI?
AD: SAI has experience across many industries and this broad spectrum of experience means they bring lessons from beyond the footwear industry that Cole Haan has operated in. SAI’s continuous improvement approach engenders trust and transparency between suppliers and brands, which was something our company desired. We appreciate the practicality of this approach and that it can be applied to companies at any stage of maturity. From the very early stages of building a socially accountable supply chain, to later stages of well-developed supply chains. SAI adapts to each brand.
SAI: How does SAI fit into Cole Haan’s broader business strategy?
AD: As we grow the business and gain recognition beyond footwear, we are developing a larger and deeper supply chain and look forward to learning the most efficient approach to managing this area.
SAI: How would you characterize the risks in your industry?
AD: Global compliance is complicated across borders where you are faced with diverse regulations from anything from chemical management to water usage to wage laws.
SAI: What were you doing before for your social compliance and how did you decide to do a custom project with SAI?
AD: Previously, we had been auditing all of our suppliers against a third-party auditing firm’s audit protocol and supplier rating system. We decided to participate in a Social Fingerprint evaluation to pinpoint areas to further the program’s effectiveness. We learned there was an opportunity to create a more integrated program, customized to mitigate our particular supply chain risks, and improve social performance and brand partner collaboration overall.
SAI: Can you describe the project you are currently working on with SAI?
AD: It is a three-year, multi-phase project, beginning with the re-engineering of our current compliance program that will adopt a management system approach and support continuous improvement. We expect to have more to share soon.
SAI: Do you have any recommendations for companies considering working with SAI
AD: If you are unsure what you would like to do, or how to think about your supply chain, go through the Social Fingerprint evaluation. It’s incredibly worthwhile to benchmark against your peers. The insights gained from benchmarking—with third-party validation—are valuable, and the evaluation provides the tools for incremental improvement and facilitates engagement with internal stakeholders in the compliance conversation.
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