Griet, solidarity manager
Griet has always worked for Carrefour Belgium, but not always on solidarity issues. She actually began in the purchasing department, "but my manager at the time quickly realised that I could be more useful somewhere else". A year later, she started working for the communications department before tackling issues to do with sustainable development for eight years. She moved over to solidarity five years ago. "Now I am entirely focused on this issue and there aren't many people working on it on a full-time basis!"
The professional pathway that Griet has taken has afforded her an overview of the Group and its work. "A retailer's primary role is to provide access to food and our solidarity policy is built around this aim". In order to meet this goal, Griet and Carrefour are particularly involved in partnerships with associations that play key roles in this area. "This also meets a demand that our customers have formulated, so we set up partnerships that have meaning for them”, such as with the Food Banks or other organisations that are not food-related, such as the charity SOS Children's Villages.
Although Griet is THE person who has been appointed to deal with solidarity issues, the whole Group is behind this initiative. "I've seen real change in the five years that I've been doing this job. Now, people working in the field bring us projects". And beyond the ties that she has with national partners, Griet is in contact with representatives throughout the Group: employees working in support functions and in the stores, as well as suppliers. A product-sharing campaign implemented alongside the Group's suppliers, for example, raised more than €140,000.
Therefore, Griet always seeks to bring different stakeholders together and generate synergies among them, both locally and globally. "We strive for short distribution channels; as part of our drive to keep food waste to a minimum and give away unsold stock, we are able to help local charities". Griet is flourishing in this role of facilitator, reconciling needs and opportunities. But that's not all! She also educates other, "explaining how and why we take action", to further develop solidarity.
Griet is an educator and facilitator, but is first and foremost a woman who works out in the field. Not easy when you have to maintain contact with partners, manage feedback about various partnerships and coordinate with the group's various business units. “But it's worth it! When you consider that a number of franchised stores are willingly taking part in the same campaigns as the consolidated stores, that is very significant!” In particular, this was the case with the Clic Solidaire (“Give with a Click”) campaign which raised nearly €280,000 for 79 charities in 2017. Associations were able to use this money to acquire the equipment they needed to grow (refrigerated vehicles for the food banks, cooking equipment for social canteens, etc.).