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Tamsin Lejeune

badge Tech Entrepreneur

Tech Entrepreneur

CEO and Founder
Common Objective

Europe | United Kingdom

My journey began in Africa - in Zambia and Zimbabwe, where I grew up. I saw what it is like to live in poverty and the ways that business, when done well, can transform livelihoods, break the cycle of poverty, and positively impact the environment.

After working in shanty towns and with communities in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Honduras and Guatemala, I saw an opportunity for technology to connect local entrepreneurs and artisans to market and create a business case for better practices across global supply chains.

2004: My first tech project was to create the Ethical Fashion Forum, a global network connecting fair trade and ethical suppliers to market. Before LinkedIn and Facebook had become mainstream, we launched an online ethical sourcing network, reaching 10k members
2007: Partnered with the UN’s International Trade Centre, connecting artisans in the slums of Kenya and Uganda with leading fashion brands
2011: Launched the SOURCE digital platform integrating online events with business profiles and sourcing directory governed by an ethical business mandate - the first time fair trade groups could create a professional presence and reach buyers on the other side of the world through mobile networks
2015-20: Raised £1.5m investment from industry to build the Common Objective (CO) platform. CO uses sophisticated algorithms, MCDA, ESG weighted scoring, ranking multipliers, and is integrating AI to match users with suppliers, buyers, peer group circles and training through personalised dashboards. Each business has an ESG score determining its ranking on the site. As a result, more sustainable suppliers and brands gain up to 5000% more views and customers through the platform. “80% of our customers come through CO” Purnaa, fair trade manufacturer, Nepal
2021: Launched CO training credits so members can increase their ESG ranking through training their teams in sustainability, fair trade and ethical practices
2022: Partnered with UNHCR to deliver market access for refugee artisans
2023: Partnered with the UN Global Compact - the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative - to integrate their ESG framework into CO and accelerate business action towards the UN SDGs
2024: Reached 65K+ professional members representing 28k businesses across 180 countries on CO. Launched a Global Digital Supply Chain Hub with Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, expanding CO tech across multiple industry sectors.

About innovation and new technologies

We are continually seeking to innovate our technology to incentivise better business practices.

In 2023 the power of CO tech was endorsed by our successful bid to Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, to co-develop a Digital Supply Chain Hub. We have also been working with the UN Global Compact to accelerate business action on the SDGs.

Our work over the last year has included:

1. Optimising algorithms: CO algorithms aggregate ESG data from multiple sources, giving more sustainable suppliers higher rankings, more views and customers, and match users with ESG resources. Over the last year we have been:

-Integrating earned data (such as team members completing ESG training through the site) into business ranking and optimising ranking multipliers (allowing for example, a small Peruvian fair trade supplier that is changing lives but has limited resources to rank competitively beside a large supplier group)
-Expanding data sets, matching and clustering logic to incorporate data across multiple industry sectors
-Developing AI logic to allow users to type in any question and get a response in conversational style to any query, drawing from data across all of our partner networks and recommending suppliers, solutions, content, and training in line with needs

2. ESG accelerator: Our ESG accelerator aims to make it easy and compelling for businesses to take steps towards sustainability. It has been a focus for work over the last year, and will include:

-Accelerator dashboard: Integrating AI driven data analysis so that each user can access visual analytics on how their business is performing on ESG against others, with recommendations (content, tools, policies, guidelines) on how to improve their score
-Access to interactive policy, roadmap and reporting software incorporating generative AI, in line with UN Global Compact reporting processes and new ESG business legislation
-The ability to gain awards that increase ranking when ESG score thresholds are reached

3. Mutliplying learning outcomes

-New functionality across our collaborative “circles” feature allowing partners to increase training uptake and engagement by their members
-New learning functionality allowing users and team leaders to track progress, and automating the allocation of “credits” to business profiles, increasing their ranking, when teams complete ESG training. Credits have increased engagement with content by up to 1.9k%

About entrepreneurship and inclusion promotion

80% of garment workers are women* and the majority are based in the global south. Major production hubs include China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Honduras, Mexico++. Women workers often face abuse, forced and unpaid overtime, and gender-based violence*. “gender equality measures are essential to protect garment workers from violence and harassment, but many apparel companies don’t have this as a priority” (World Benchmarking Alliance 2023)

The most urgent diversity and inclusion issues in the fashion sector occur in supply chains and Common Objective was created to address this. The CO platform gives apparel companies a business case to prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion, fair, ethical, and sustainable business practices. All of these are integrated into the ranking that determines how many views and customers are generated through the CO site. The highest ranking suppliers and brands on CO gain up to 5k% more views and customers than the least sustainable. As a result, 65% more businesses have gained the highest sustainability ranking on the platform year on year, increasing DEI across fashion supply chains.

Businesses which gain the highest ranking and most customers through CO are inspirational, for example:

-Purnaa, employing marginalised women in Nepal, providing dignified and fair employment, and funding education scholarships for children and adults
-Ethical Apparel Africa, working with local women-owned factories and support them to make the leap to export while prioritizing the well being of their workers. They train women in high skill, traditionally male areas including tech
- Organic Cotton Colours, changing lives for cotton farmers and their families in Brazil

“My life has completely changed since joining Purnaa. Every day I am learning new things and I am able to afford my childrens schooling” Dhanmaya M

Common Objective is a member of the UN Global Compact (UNGC), which commits us to the UN SDGs including Goal 5 - Gender Equality and Goal 10 - Reduced Inequality plus 10 principles covering human rights, labour and the environment. We report annually to the UNGC against our EDI policy through a Communication on Progress. There is a 50-50 gender balance across the CO team and board.

CO is now working with UNGC to accelerate the number of businesses joining the Global Compact, with the goal of ethical and EDI best practice becoming a licence to operate across supply chains.

*Fairtrade International, 2023