Iris Van der Veken
Iris Van der Veken was born in 1970 in Aalst, and went to high school in Belgium and Washington DC. Afterwards she studied Law at the University of Antwerp where she obtained a Bachelor's degree. Law was not her true ambition so she continued to study and obtained a second Bachelors degree in Business and International Relations where she obtained highest honors with her thesis, 'The International Monetary Fund-a world class institution in search of the support of public opinion'.
Her real professional career started in 1999 when she joined Real Software during the "dotcom boom" period when any technology shares skyrocketed, being responsible for HR-recruitment in a Business Unit with over 800 ICT recruits. She became well known for her creative style in HR management and employee communication. As the bust period followed and the shares plummeted, the company went through two major restructuring phases - a very interesting and challenging experience for her.
In 2002 she decided to switch to an industry where HR was in its infancy - the Diamond Industry - joining Rosy Blue in Antwerp as HR Manager. After two years she expanded her scope to include projects in India, USA and South Africa. As her knowledge and interest grew globally, she received more responsibilities adding corporate sustainability to her duties. Since 2007 she was appointed as Manager Corporate Affairs Global Rosy Blue. Iris has a deep understanding, and track record, of successfully embedding a corporate sustainability strategy within a complex global supply chain. Proven results in transformation management, strategic leadership and implementation of all aspects of sustainability practices in business, social and environmental areas across India, China, Japan, USA, South-Africa, Thailand, Sri-Lanka, Israel, Armenia, UAE and Belgium. Under her leadership Rosy Blue has successfully published its third CSR Report.
This CSR approach is pioneer work and confirms Rosy Blue's key position in the supply chain from diamond manufacturing to retail.
Iris Van der Veken established the Belgian Chapter of the United Nations Global Compact. She was appointed Chair in February 2010. In May 2011, the Belgian team received worldwide recognition in Copenhagen for their excellent work done in driving communication and knowledge sharing across borders within the sustainability landscape. Currently the Belgian Network is preparing a Conference on Children's Rights and Business Principles on November 20th in the Egmont Palace.
Iris is participating in the Human Rights working group of the Global Compact. She prepared a Best Practice case study with Social Accountability International that was published on the Leaders Summit in New York in 2010: 'Implementation of SA 8000 in Thailand and integration of the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact'. She also teaches in the Master Program at the University of Antwerp. Iris is the proud mother of a 12 year old son Alexander and her heart goes out to the athletes of Special Olympics Belgium, in which she has been actively involved for over 15 years.