Jessica Custer brings expertise in ethical supply chains and community-driven development to BSR’s inclusive economy practice. She manages the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition, promoting inclusive employment practices in global supply chains. Previously, Custer worked at Fair Trade USA, where she designed, implemented, and managed certification programs in agricultural supply chains and also helped consumer packaged goods companies execute their responsible sourcing strategies. She has also researched and advised on social enterprise development, first as a Fulbright Scholar exploring improved access to sanitation in Peru and subsequently as an MBA Without Borders Advisor to social entrepreneurs working towards sustainable livelihoods for hand weavers in South India.
Our social safety net has failed to keep up with 21st-century realities. In the U.S., where many key aspects of the social safety net are tied to traditional, full-time employment, an estimated 1 in 10 workers get their primary source of income from non-traditional work which offers limited or no access to benefits—like paid leave, health insurance, retirement savings, and unemployment insurance—that are central to economic security and mobility. With the changing nature of work, the number of individuals and families that depend on non-traditional work for all or supplemental portions of their income is growing, meaning those lacking access to social safety nets is also growing. The current system fosters inequality and precarity, but emerging models for portable benefits systems—where benefits are attached to the individual and enable all workers to accrue, contribute to, and manage key benefits—show a path forward. Join us to learn more about these examples and the business role in advancing economic security and mobility through portable benefits, one element of BSR’s work to advance 21st-century social contracts.
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I felt this conference was life changing. I am truly inspired and am plotting both career and personal changes to live up to the great lessons I learned. Both the sessions and the networking were vital.