Top companies in Europe to empower women through the amfori-UN Women WEPs Activator

Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

[Press release]

amfori President Christian Ewert, left, and UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Mohammad Naciri pose after Ewert signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in Bangkok on February 11, 2020. They are joined by amfori Director for Asia-Pacific Joyce Chau and UN Women’s WeEmpowerAsia Regional Programme Manager Katja Freiwald. Photo: UN Women/Bovornpong Vathanathanakul

Brussels, Belgium – Global business association amfori and UN Women are bringing together 16 leading companies from across Europe to enhance their impact on gender diversity and inclusion. The WEPs Activator is jointly-led by UN Women and amfori.

The companies, ranging from multinationals to SMEs, will benefit from access to training tools and services, the development of corresponding ‘gender action’ plans, as well as tailored one-to-one support to implement them.

The 10-month programme will help strengthen the companies' competitiveness as they take concrete steps to empower women, contributing to closing the gender gap in the private sector while building business value across their supply chains that span across Europe and Asia.

Christian Ewert, President of amfori, is proud to inaugurate the programme as a way to fast track gender equality across supply chains globally and help amfori members: “Our mission of Trade with Purpose cannot be realized without business leadership and commitment to women’s economic empowerment. The WEPs Activator brings us closer to achieving this mission.”

The WEPs Activator, jointly run by amfori and the European Union-funded project ‘WeEmpowerAsia’ from UN Women, aims to secure CEO buy-in for gender equality as a foundation for companies and their global supply chains. WeEmpowerAsia promotes women’s equal economic participation and a more gender-inclusive trade ecosystem between Asia and Europe. Its purpose is to drive change from boardrooms to the factory floor and targeting C-level leadership as well as divisions related to human resources, diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, procurement and supply chain management, or those eager to help drive progress for women within their organizations.

Katja Freiwald, Regional Programme Manager of WeEmpowerAsia, UN Women, is looking forward to the collaboration and the opportunities the programme will provide: “Through the UN Women WEPs Activator, we will mobilize companies of all sizes – retailers, importers, brands and associations – to deliver a legacy of positive change, knowing the benefits of women’s full and equal economic participation are for everyone.”

amfori’s partnership with UN Women through the WEPs Activator represents an opportunity to further open and sustainable trade, and gender equality plays a central part of achieving that mission. The collaboration also lays the groundwork for deeper WEPs implementation among amfori members, building on amfori’s tools and learnings from its Women Empowerment Programme.

For more details on the WEPs Activator participants, see the full list of companies below. To learn more about the programme, click here.


For more information, please contact: 

John McCarrick
Media Relations Expert

Bovornpong Vathanathanakul
Communications Analyst, WeEmpowerAsia
UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

About amfori
amfori is the leading global business association for open and sustainable trade. Our vision is of a world where all trade delivers social, environmental and economic benefits for everyone.

About UN Women
UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

About the European Union
The European Union is made up of 27 member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. 

About WeEmpowerAsia
WeEmpowerAsia is a UN Women programme funded by and in partnership with the European Union that seeks to increase the number of women who lead and participate in business in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. A key component of the programme involves mobilizing private sector companies to become gender-responsive by committing to and implementing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). For more, visit