Winson Wu, director of Carrefour's local foundation
After a degree in law from National Taiwan University and a first job in banking and international trade, Winson Wu joined Carrefour in 1994. He had a number of operational positions (store opening, management, etc.) in Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing before becoming HR Director for Carrefour Taiwan in 2006, and then head of the local foundation – the Carrefour Taiwan Cultural and Educational Foundation in 2009 – for which he now works exclusively.
Under Winson's management, the foundation helps Taiwan's most vulnerable people via a wide range of programmes focusing on education, integration, tackling poverty and supporting local social businesses. For example, working alongside the Jen JI Shiang Social Service Institute, which helps vulnerable people, the foundation has opened an anti-waste restaurant which uses unsold stock from Carrefour stores collected by local Food Banks: "giving out everyday consumer goods is an initial step. But we want to help change the lives of disadvantaged young people in Taiwan; and to do this we provide qualification-based training programmes leading to jobs in food-related and logistics professions". As Winson points out, collecting, transporting and then redistributing products to our various partners constitutes a major part of the foundation's work: "through people's donations and by collecting food products, we are able to distribute 60,000 meals every month. Each of our 102 stores works closely alongside one or several of our 65 local partners, all of which are members of Taiwan's Food Bank Alliance. In total, we are able to support some 300 families. Employees from eight nearby supermarkets also organise food collection initiatives for the association – they collect 1.6 tonnes of products every month".
Winson manages a team of six people to help him implement all these initiatives: "as one of the entities making up a French group, first and foremost, our work involves working at local level with our various stakeholders". This way, all the various parties are involved. Customers, via a system whereby what they pay is "rounded up" at checkouts, employees via a mentoring scheme and even Carrefour suppliers, which sell products made by social enterprises in our stores: "All of this means that we can do so much more than simply sign a cheque in order to step up our impact and get our whole ecosystem involved".
In fact, these two concepts – impact and involvement – are central to what Winson does. "In addition to involving the various entities around us, we want the 600 employees who volunteer every year – and the rest of our staff – to feel proud to work for Carrefour", he emphasises. Once partnerships have been set up, communication is required to publicise the initiatives and get the whole chain involved – everyone from the suppliers and the teams to the customers.
When people ask Winson what his main responsibilities are on a day-to-day basis, he enthuses: “reconciling supply and demand". To succeed, liaising between stores and partners is crucial and needs to be done on an ongoing basis. He is only able to fulfil this mediator role by working on a day-to-day basis to network all of the stakeholders involved. "This all-encompassing initiative gets our partners working together, and enables us to work with other foundations, for example. We are involved in a number of programmes to help young people alongside the Taipei Dream House Foundation and the Taitung Kids' Bookhouse Foundation, as well as cultural themes with the HCT Logistic Foundation”.