Fairtrade International Launches New Organization in the U.S.

by laura everage on January 17, 2013 · 0 comments

Fairtrade International USA Announces

Board of Directors & Interim Operations Manager

Washington, D.C.  [Jan. 17, 2013] –With a newly established office in Washington, D.C., Fairtrade International USA is open for business and proud to announce its Board of Directors and Interim Operations Manager. The move connects US shoppers with over 25 other Fairtrade organizations in the international Fairtrade system (FLO) and 1.2 million producers around the world, all working together for a better deal for farmers and workers. The organization will promote the international FAIRTRADE Mark, support businesses wishing to sell on Fairtrade terms, and build public support for trade justice around the world.

Interim Operations Manager of the new organization is Enrique Hennings. Originally from Bolivia, Hennings graduated as an agricultural economist and rural finance specialist and lived in the USA for 12 years. He has worked for a number of international organizations, including the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Hennings most recently spent two years as the Producer Finance Manager at Fairtrade International (FLO), where he was the architect of the Fairtrade Access Fund, a joint project with Incofin IM and Grameen Foundation, projected to grow to $25 million for loans for producer groups in Latin America. He will establish the new office and work with supporters and partners in the US to build the Fairtrade market and spread the word about farmers and workers’ need for a better deal.

Shoppers can already find the friendly green and blue logo (at right) on a wide variety of products, as more and more companies sign up to follow the international Fairtrade Standards and be part of a global movement for change. Coffee, chocolate, tea, and even bubble gum and agave syrup are just some of the Fairtrade certified goodies already available in US stores. Now that the US office is up and running more companies look set to follow suit.

I’m eager to move our efforts forward in the US and work with our new board who are dedicated to Fairtrade in the US and represent the diversity of the international Fairtrade system,” said Hennings. “Their experience will provide strong direction for the organization and help us serve the farmers and workers, traders and businesses, and all of our stakeholders.”

The newly elected Board of Directors is made up of representatives from across the Fairtrade system and civil society:

Raul del Aguila is dedicated to developing alternatives to conventional trade and sustainable development for producers and communities. He is Managing Director of COCLA, a second grade Fairtrade certified cooperative in Peru made up of 23 primary cooperatives. Aguila is also President of Pachamama Coffee Cooperative in Davis, California. He has served two terms as President of the CLAC, the Fairtrade Producer Network representing producers in Latin America and has also served on the Board of Fairtrade International.

Dr. Bama Athreya has a lifelong commitment to human rights and corporate accountability. She worked for the International Labor Rights Forum for 12 years as Deputy and eventually Executive Director. Athreya is a leading voice in the US on issues of forced labor, trafficking and child labor. Most recently, Athreya served as Executive Director of United to End Genocide. She also served as Vice President of Fontheim International, LLC, chairing the organization’s Trade, Aid and Security Coalition.

Tony Hall is deeply committed to the Fair Trade principles. He leads the Fair Trade Town initiative in Irvine, California, and is the Regional Representative for the Pacific Rim for the WFTO. Hall worked for 12 years in Silicon Valley in business development prior to working for eight years as a business consultant with Fair Trade producer organizations in Asia and Africa.

Werner Kiene has over 40 years of development experience from helping smallholders implement new technologies in Africa to working as UN-WFP Country Director in Bangladesh. He has served on the Supervisory Board of FLO-CERT, the Fairtrade certification body, for the past several years. From 2004-2009, Kiene was Chairman of the World Bank’s Inspection Panel. Since 2010 he has been Chairman of the Compliance Review Panel of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C.

Nick Orton has been a community activist his entire life contributing to the formation of food co-ops, worker co-ops, neighborhood associations and more. He currently serves as Board Secretary for Fairtrade Canada and manages a fish processing and smoking business. He has played various roles in the global organic movement including a stint on the organizing committee of the IFOAM World Congress and on the board of directors for the Organic Trade Association. Most recently, Orton served on the board of directors of the Sointula Cooperative Association in British Columbia.

About Fairtrade International USA

Fairtrade International USA represents the international Fairtrade system (FLO) in the United States and works to secure a better deal for farmers and workers around the world. Products bearing the international FAIRTRADE Mark have met the internationally-agreed Fairtrade Standards. The Mark is the world’s most recognized and trusted ethical label based on Globescan research. Over 30 US companies have signed up to use the international FAIRTRADE Mark in the United States with more to come. For more information, please visit www.fairtradeinternational.us.

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