Steve Jesseph, president and CEO of WRAP, is retiring at the end of the year

Steve Jesseph, president and CEO of WRAP, is retiring at the end of the year

Steve Jesseph, the CEO of social and environmental training and certification group Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), is to retire at the end the year.

Jesseph has been involved with WRAP since the outset, chairing a multi-stakeholder task force to study the working conditions in apparel and footwear factories around the world prior to WRAP beginning operations in 2000.

The non-profit organisation is self-funded and does not receive government or foundation grants, or membership dues. But it has achieved the accolade of being adopted as the common standard by global brands and retailers including Jockey, VF Corporation, Hanes, Children's Place, Sears, Carhartt, Cintas, Anvil Knitwear, Dole and others in the US, plus Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Itochu.

"Given our acceptance by 25 trade associations, governments, brands, retailers and more, I think we met our goal of creating a global compliance brand," Jesseph says.

Mary Howell, former vice president and now special advisor to the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) worked with Jesseph as a staff liaison from the first task force meeting in late 1996. "Without the foresight, determination and dedication of Steve Jesseph, I am not sure WRAP would be the viable organisation it is today," she notes. "I would say that WRAP has been nothing but a labour of love for Steve and a testament to his core beliefs."

Likewise, Gil Llanes, president of ICG, observes: "Steve grew WRAP's registration volume four-fold in six years and, in the process, he built a world class organisation with representatives in the major apparel producing countries in the world."

Jesseph himself adds: "Fifteen years ago, WRAP was a vision; today, it is reality. We've certified more than 6,000 facilities in over 70 countries, opened regional offices in Hong Kong and Dhaka, and developed a range of training programs that are viewed as best-in-class by brands and retailers."

As for the future, Jesseph explains he is considering several opportunities, including consulting work. "I'm retiring from WRAP but not from work. I'm looking forward to the next chapter in life."