Through his business, founder of Butler’s Choice, Jakob Stokkebye, identified a big need for improving the working and living conditions of the fishermen and their families when travelling in Vietnam to source shrimps. In 2004 he decided to give a helping hand to a group of families in Southern Vietnam from whom he sourced his products. The first donations and activities to improve the conditions among his suppliers started up in tandem with implementation of quality standards at the shrimp factory.
Choice Foundation was established in 2011, as a formalization of the early CSR work done by Butler’s Choice, by Jacob Stokkebye and his wife, and current chairman, Helle Stokkebye Johansen. The foundation is governed by an independent board and is not affiliated with the operational business of Butler’s Choice.
Since then the foundation has completed several projects in collaboration with sponsors and partners. Today Choice Foundation addresses global social challenges within global value chains – with a focus on health and schooling of disadvantaged children.
The aim of Choice Foundation is to improve the living conditions for families and especially children of production workers in the global supply chain by creating access to primary education for the children and ensuring access to healthcare for the children and their families.
We concentrate on improving basic conditions for health and education with a special focus on children. Our projects are based on United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights, with a special focus on the Right to Health and the Right to Education. Securing access to primary education can besides giving children basics skills, prevent child labour or trafficking. Securing clean drinking water and toilet facilities at schools can prevent diseases and increase learning abilities.
Through our projects we also contribute to The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 Global Goals were adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. In Choice Foundation we have chosen to focus its effort on the following goals:
“The world is one big global supply chain. Choice Foundation works to improve living and health conditions for poor families contributing to the value chain. So far our focus has been on Vietnam”
— Helle Stokkebye Johansen, Chairman
Choice Foundation is governed by a board comprised of members with competencies within development expertise, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, commercial partnerships and communication. The current members of the board are:
Lars runs his own consulting company providing accounting, IT, administration and financial services and advisory to a broad range of SME’s from different industries in Denmark. Lars brings a profound economic and strategic understanding to the table in Choice Foundation by using his long experience as consultant and former CFO in Alumeco A/S (1990 to 2006) and Planova A/S (2006 to 2008) and as board member in other SME’s.
Michala Bruhn Petersen
Michala holds a M. Sc. in Economics from the University of Copenhagen specialized in Development Economics and International Trade. With 12 years of experience as diplomat (2003-2015), Michala has worked for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs focusing on a broad range of fields, e.g. Danida’s Private Sector Development Programme, Multilateral Energy Aid under COP 15 and the Danish Trade Council’s export strategies for Danish SME’s. Michala’s profound interest in development of organizations and people also led Michala to HR in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs focusing on hiring and development of diplomats and Trade Council leaders and employees.
Michala has the last seven years (2015- ) been working as partner and director for Communication and Press in the start-up, clean-tech company ScandiMir Energy Systems ApS and has the last two years additionally established the consultant company Bruhn & Lyhne where she supports executives and companies building up strong organizations based on high performance, strong culture and optimal resource- and talent utilization.
Helle Stokkebye Johansen
Helle Stokkebye Johansen holds a M.Sc. in Int. Business from Copenhagen Business School. Helle has 20 years of experience with partnerships for development, Corporate Social Responsibility and the UN Global Compact. From 1998-2007 Helle worked in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs being responsible for the Public Private Partnership Programme and desk officer for the Danida Private Sector Development Programme (today Danida Business Partnerships) and also represented the MFA in the government’s CSR-committee. From 2007-2011 Helle was Head of Business Outreach in the UNDP Nordic Office in Copenhagen advising Danish companies on the UN Global Compact. At present Helle is also responsible for CSR and Communication in Butler’s Choice, and CSR advisor through her own consultancy CSR on Board.