Inside BSR is our monthly series featuring BSR team members from around the world. This month, we connected with Eva Ehoke, an Associate in our Paris office.
Eva chatted with us about how her first professional experiences in Kenya brought her to sustainability, her work on women’s empowerment, and how working at BSR supports her passion for contributing to the community.
Tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from, where are you based, and how have you been since COVID/work from home/etc.?
I am French and Congolese, and I grew up in northern France.
I am based in Paris, where I have stayed throughout all three lockdowns. Working from home is not always easy, but I am lucky to live in one of the greenest parts of the city. I can also enjoy nice walks during lunchtime.
How did you get into working on sustainable business? How long have you been at BSR? What is your current role and what does that entail?
I started working on sustainable business while completing my first internships in Nairobi, Kenya. Back then, I spent a year working with the German Development Bank and with the German Chamber of Commerce. During these internships, I learned about a wide range of sustainability-related topics, from impact investment to renewable energies.
Following these initial professional experiences, I wanted to keep a foot on the African continent and continue to work on purpose-led projects, so I joined a media, communications, and events company. In this role, I contributed to initiatives dedicated to women’s leadership and gender equality in the African business sector.
I have now been at BSR for two years. I work as an Associate on a wide range of topics, but I focus particularly on Women’s Empowerment; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI); and Human Rights issues across the Consumer Products sector.
What are some interesting projects that you get to work on as part of your role at BSR? What do you enjoy about them?
One of my first projects at BSR was to support the development of the Framework for Conducting Gender Responsive Due Diligence in Supply Chains. Since then, I have been closely involved with BSR’s work on women in supply chains. I work on a variety of projects focused this topic, from helping companies apply a gender lens to their supply chains to supporting them as they develop impactful programs for women workers. I get to interact with brands and suppliers, as well as NGOs, researchers, and institutions. I love that I get to work with such a diverse network of stakeholders that are all seeking to achieve tangible progress for women.
I also engage with companies on projects related to DEI. I am very excited about BSR’s work on the topic and am always eager to hear our members’ perspectives. I believe there is so much that business can do to dismantle the systemic barriers that exist for many populations.
What issues are you passionate about and why? Does your work at BSR reflect that?
My friends and family know me as a tireless feminist and advocate for social justice! I love to exchange with others and take part in community projects. I also do my best to keep learning and to educate myself on these topics. I believe it is crucial that we deconstruct what we know and constantly remind ourselves that no one can thrive in a world with racial, social, and economic injustices and where patriarchy prevails.
My work at BSR allows me to tackle these topics from a business angle, which is both exciting and challenging. Many of these issues, especially when it comes to DEI, are still emerging in the business world. A lot still needs to be achieved, but at the same time, there is great space for creativity, collaboration, and innovation.
In this context, evolving at a global organization such as BSR, with colleagues and partners all over the world, is very stimulating and provides an amazing learning environment. I am eager to keep working on solutions that will be beneficial for society as well as for companies.
2020 was undoubtedly a difficult year. What were the things that brought you joy amid lockdowns/quarantines? What are you most looking forward to in 2021/when the pandemic is over?
During several months in 2020-2021, travel restrictions in France made it difficult to go for a weekend away from the Paris area. As I was getting a bit tired of the city, I started looking for nice nature spots close to home and found plenty where it is nice to bike or hike.
I also enjoyed reconnecting with friends from all over the world since everyone had more time and a videoconferencing account.
When the pandemic is over, I look forward to meeting up with colleagues from other offices!