Kate is a career procurement and supply chain person, and she uses her in depth experience to educate and inform businesses and consumers across a broad range of mediums. She teaches and contributes to research at Melbourne University, is a freelance writer, and a management consultant for boutique consultancy ‘State of Flux’.

Kate holds a masters degree in International Trade from The University of Melbourne and has had a career as a supply chain specialist working directly within blue chip organisations such as Ford and Rio Tinto and also in management consulting with Accenture and KPMG. Most recently her focus has been on helping clients tackle social issues in the supply chain, and as evidenced by the content in this blog. She has experience first hand working with community groups on anti-human trafficking programs on the ground in India and Bangladesh.

Inspiration comes and goes… and then it comes around again

Inspiration comes and goes… and then it comes around again

Sometimes I have inspiration to write, sometimes I don’t. And that’s okay. But there’s some big inspirations coming next week so it’s time to get back to the keyboard.

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Best tips for responsibly sourced seafood this summer

Best tips for responsibly sourced seafood this summer

Some pretty dodgy stuff has been revealed about fishing and seafood processing practices, particularly in South East Asia, over the last 18 months. And since no one wants to eat tuna or prawns that have been caught and processed by slaves who have been trafficked from some of the poorest countries, we’ve put together some of our insights on responsibly sourced seafood to help you make informed choices when selecting seafood from the supermarket.

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What you (yes you) can do for the children of Aleppo

What you (yes you) can do for the children of Aleppo
Today I did what I usually do when I wake up in the morning, I checked my phone.
 
I scrolled through facebook with interest in the pictures of my friends with their kids who are graduating from university, pictures of new babies, and general life.
 
But there amongst it from my activist friends, from ABC, from some of the NGOs I follow, were all the current updates on Aleppo. I clicked on one post that showed a number of the 'goodbye posts' where residents of Aleppo sent messages out by social media as they wait in their quarters for their certain death. These guys were a young girl, a school teacher and a dentist - normal people.
 
Does it bother you too?
That was one too many posts for me.
I jerked awake to it - what am I doing? Just looking dispassionately at these pictures like they aren't real, like they aren't happening somewhere in someone else's reality, as if it could never be me had I not been lucky enough to be born in Melbourne, Australia?
 
All the horror, so far away and so shocking we feel powerless. So I don't know about you but my stomach turns, I look away, and I go back to looking at cute cat videos instead.
 
Lets do something
This time I didn't go back to the cat videos. This time I googled, 'how can I help Syria?' Being so far away there isn't a lot we can do directly in Australia but the ABC recommends donating money to those on the front line. In the UK,in the Independent says you can join demonstrations being held locally or help with the refugee crisis by volunteering to care temporarily for unaccompanied children.
 
I know there is some cynicism about money donated to big NGOs reaching the front line. The best thing to do is to research the projects that the different NGOs do and support those projects. Today I supported World Vision because they maintain quiet zones for children, to try to help soothe the damage caused by the horrific scenes they have seen, but you can help UNHCR and UNICEF to help them provide shelter and warm blankets for those displaced over winter.
 
Did you catch that? you can click here now to donate to world vision... do it now, just give them your coffee money for tomorrow and have an instant coffee in the office instead. Such a tiny sacrifice. Click the link.
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Veggies and sourdough with an ethical twist

Veggies and sourdough with an ethical twist
I made a great lunchtime discovery in the city on Lonsdale street in Melbourne yesterday. The Justice Food truck is an initiative by the Australian Asylum Seekers Resource Centre (ASRC). Not only does the food truck raise money for asylum seekers, but they also offer locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables at a 75% discount to those who are of refugee status. Some have as little as $20 per week to live on and it can stretch a long way at discounted prices like that. It’s good for us too - by supporting these types of initiatives it makes it easy to contribute to the cause in a meaningful way.





A friendly volunteer chatted to me for a while as I picked up some lunchtime goodies. She tells me that the first of the Justice Food Trucks started in a small pocket of Broadmeadows nearly 2 years ago and since then they have started opening on a weekly basis in Thomastown, Melbourne CBD, and Footscray. They have become well known enough now that in the areas where there is a more concentrated population of asylum seekers, there are now queues of people waiting for their doors to open.

You can learn more about the Food Justice truck via the following short video:



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Shifts in ways of working - the beauty of my office space

Shifts in ways of working - the beauty of my office space

I came to work today and I was annoyed because my usual spot next to my architect friend was taken by this guy from a tech start-up. I’ll forgive him since he’s so new to the space and hasn’t learned that is my spot just yet… He’s also really talkative and flirtatious which is kind of annoying so I’m relieved to sit somewhere else. So I take a spot next to two girls in their mid-twenties who started a marketing agency this year. They have sparkly smiles and one of them has a spiralling tattoo on her hand and wrist that reminds me of henna painting from my trip to India this year. One of them is chasing some debtors on the phone, and I smile to myself because she is so pleasant and friendly as she tells him that the matter must be settled within 48 hours. At the end of my table is a talent scout, he’s talking to an acting hopeful on the phone about an audition he has organised for them to be on Neighbours.

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Ashton Kutcher joins in the fight against slavery and trafficking

Ashton Kutcher joins in the fight against slavery and trafficking

Ashton Kutcher is well known for his Hollywood stardom and for his success as an entrepreneur. But perhaps less known is work as an activist. When married to actress Demi Moore, Kutcher began an organisation targeting the trafficking of women into the sex trade, and over time in the prevention of cyber sex crimes. The organisation appropriately named ‘Thorn”, is focussed on identifying victims, disrupting the existing platforms and then deterring the predators’.

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Rebuilding the lives of former slaves part 3: Denise's story

Rebuilding the lives of former slaves part 3: Denise's story

Recently I travelled to Cebu in the Philippines and had the opportunity to spend time with an outsourcing company, DataMotivate, who are making a real difference in the restoration of the lives of girls who have been trafficked or caught slavery by providing career opportunities. This way the girls learn to become self-sufficient and to build a career, reducing their vulnerability to returning to high risk environments again.

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Filipino president likens himself to Hitler in extermination of drug users

Filipino president likens himself to Hitler in extermination of drug users

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, is making headlines again, after likening himself to Adolf Hitler and vowing to kill three million drug addicts.

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Rebuilding the lives of former slaves part two – the rescue process

Rebuilding the lives of former slaves part two – the rescue process

Recently I travelled to Cebu in the Philippines and had the opportunity to spend time with an outsourcing company, DataMotivate, who are making a real difference in the restoration of the lives of girls who have been trafficked into slavery by providing career opportunities. This way the girls learn to become self-sufficient and to build a career, reducing their vulnerability to being trafficked again. In a three-part series each week I am going to share what I learned from spending time with the team at DataMotivate and the brave and talented young women that they employ.

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Rebuilding the lives of former slaves part one: about DataMotivate

Rebuilding the lives of former slaves part one: about DataMotivate

Recently I travelled to Cebu in the Philippines and had the opportunity to spend time with an outsourcing company, DataMotivate, who are making a real difference in the restoration of the lives of girls who have been trafficked into slavery by providing career opportunities. This way the girls learn to become self-sufficient and to build a career, reducing their vulnerability to being trafficked again.

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Time to boycott Thailand? Human rights activist found guilty of criminal charges

Time to boycott Thailand? Human rights activist found guilty of criminal charges

There was a shock outcome in Thailand last week, when human rights activist, Andy Hall, was found guilty of defamation (a criminal charge in Thailand) and cyber crimes for reporting labour abuse in the fruit canning industry.

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That day my friend stood trial for murder...

That day my friend stood trial for murder...

What happens when someone you love goes through something so grim that you feel wracking fear for them, but no ability to influence or control what happens?

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Ethical buyers are daggy...aren't they?

Ethical buyers are daggy...aren't they?

One of my colleauges sent me a very interesting and entertaining article last week from the Guardian – ‘ethical consumers are unattractive and boring, aren’t they?’

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Slavery is back in the news again lately

Slavery is back in the news again lately

Just last week my brother in law forwarded on to me an article he came across while reading the paper in his daily commute, with the headline ‘more than 45 million people trapped in modern slavery…’ more on that here. I’m noticing more and more that people are starting to thinking about it, knowing the work that I do it’s amazing now how many people text me and say ‘I’m in the supermarket aisle, what tea should I buy?’ or I’m tagged on a facebook post ‘Kate Nicholl, should I buy these school polo shirts that are only $3 in target?’

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The real fashion victims – a tale from Bangladesh

The real fashion victims – a tale from Bangladesh

On April 24, 2013 a giant factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh manufacturing garments exclusively for consumption in the west collapsed due to it being overcrowded and built unsafely. Over 1100 people died that day. There is just an empty space there now, with a small pond where survivors and families of those lost are cultivating fish. But its a stark reminder of how badly it can go wrong, when worker safety is not as high a priority as cheap product… No one knows better than these two blokes in the picture below, between them they pulled out 70 living and 36 dead bodies.



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Three things I learned about my life at home from the slums of Mumbai

Three things I learned about my life at home from the slums of Mumbai


Mumbai is a pretty exciting place – it’s vibrant, there is a lot of history, a long seaside promenade. But the slums, the dark side of Mumbai, that is a different story. The poverty, dirt, garbage, and human waste in the slums of Mumbai are impossible to describe in words. It has to be smelled to be believed. People live piled on top of each other, many have been trafficked from the poorest parts of India to work in slave like conditions in manual labour or the sex trade.

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Is there human trafficking in your teabag?

Is there human trafficking in your teabag?



The tea plantations in India are a beautiful sight to behold. The gardens stretch for kilometres and are green and lush. Visitors travelling through on the well made roads between the gardens could be forgiven for believing that it is a paradise to live and to work in. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth.

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India Undercaste – food for human traffickers

India Undercaste – food for human traffickers


Caste System and Trafficking in India

Human trafficking is something we hear about in Australia as a distant practice ‘out there’ in the third world. The horror of it makes us think that must be an illegal under ground practice that happens to the small populations of the most unfortunate. But it is far more prevalent than we can conceive from the context of the comfortable lives we live in Australia.

Today I had the privilege of meeting with Dr kancha Ilaiah of xx University in Hyderabad who shared with us his extensive knowledge of the India underclass, and how they are trafficked into sex slavery and manual labour. Here’s a short snippet:


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Exploitation in the electronics industry – how does your brand rate?

Exploitation in the electronics industry – how does your brand rate?
Electronics has joined the long list of industries enjoying the gross profits afforded through the high prices of retailing their products and the low costs of production. Searching the world for the lowest cost materials and labour makes good business sense but really – at what human cost?

 

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Stop the Traffik – campaigners against social harms in the supply chain

Stop the Traffik – campaigners against social harms in the supply chain

This week we had the pleasure of meeting with Carolyn and Fuzz Kitto, co-directors of the Australian arm of ‘Stop The Traffik’

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