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:
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.
Alette Pramming holds a M.Sc. in Public Relations, Business/Corporate Communications, from Roskilde University, and owns her own communications agency, Fernweh. Alette has developed a large number of global communications and fundraising strategies for various types of organizations and companies. Alette has 20 years of experience within health care gained from tenures with two successful global companies (Novo Nordisk A/S and, most recently, LEO Pharma, where she was global director of Corporate Communications) as well as from leading healthcare and life science communications agencies. Alette’s references include Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck, Bayer, Ferring, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead, LEO Pharma, Zealand Pharma and Rigshospitalet as well as working with patient associations within diabetes, psoriasis, haematology, cancer, HIV, etc. Alette is also board member of PsykologNet.
Linda Jakobsen holds a M.Sc. in Political Science from Aarhus University specialized in International Relations. She has almost 20 years of experience in working with the internationalization of Danish business through the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), her own company Global Minds, the top executives’ network LinKs and as Head of Globalization and CSR in the Danish Chamber of Commerce. During 2009-10, she represented the Danish Chamber of Commerce in the Council for CSR established by the Danish government. During her postings for MFA as head of the Trade Department at the Danish Embassy in Thailand and as Director of the Trade Council in Taiwan, she has worked with supply chains of Danish companies of all sectors and sizes.
Today, Linda is Senior CSR Consultant at Schur International A/S and member of UN Global Compact Network Denmark and the UNGP Professional Network. On the side, she is a Pilates instructor, writer and lecturer.