Q&A with Susanne Jordan, Founder of Nager IT
Q: What makes you stand out?
A: I think our focus on transparency; we’re honest about the fact that at the moment our supply chain for computer mice is only 2/3 fair. There are not many projects like ours in the electronics sector. We want to bring about a revolution in the sector and one of our key aims is to put pressure on IT companies to improve labour force working conditions in their supply chains. Before we appeared these companies would say, ‘oh we would like to be better but it’s just so difficult’ but Nager IT proves that it’s possible. We work to improve the supply chain from both ends finding a recycled metal producer, for example, and working backwards to get companies to use this in their components but also asking the components manufacturer to seek out companies that observe safer and fairer working conditions for workers.
Q: Why do you care?
A: I feel burdened by how unfair our globalised world is. In the West we profit from the hard work of those in developing countries, who experience hardship and reap disproportionately low benefits. You could choose not to have a computer or mobile but I want to participate in society, in the economy, so it means I have to be part of this injustice.
Q: Is being responsible good for business?
A: Yes. I feel I don’t have a choice; that this is the only way to do business. People appreciate that their purchase has taken into account the workers, and the environment. It’s definitely why they buy from us.
Q: Has the business changed you?
A: Before I founded Nager IT in 2009, I was becoming more and more aware of global inequities but when I started out, I had no idea how complex supply chains are so I have learned a great deal since then. There have been times of frustration and times when I’ve become really tired. But I have started something that I want to finish. My aim is to hand over to someone else when I have found a clear way forward for the mouse to be 99% fair. And I need to first make it more profitable to give my employees better wages.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like that I am doing something. In my previous job I learned a great deal about unfair working conditions in the sector but also how little IT companies were doing to change anything. In this job, I get to change things.
Q: Plans for the future?
A: I want to make fair IT normal; I want to see other companies make other fair products like earphones, speakers. It’s also a huge challenge finding a way forward with Chinese companies in particular; I want for us to be able to agree on what is ‘fair’. For Chinese companies to believe in what I do. We must work towards sharing the same definition of fairness.