November 19, 2007
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Paul Rice, founding president and CEO of TransFair USA, the only Fair Trade certification organization in the United States today, will deliver a lecture titled “Harnessing Markets for Social Change: The Case for Fair Trade” at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. The event is free and open to the public.
Since launching the Fair Trade-certified label eight years ago, Rice and TransFair have established Fair Trade as the fastest-growing segment of the $19 billion coffee industry. To date, TransFair has developed business partnerships with over 400 U.S. coffee companies (including such leading brands as Starbucks, P&G, Green Mountain and Dunkin’ Donuts), launched Fair Trade coffee into 30,000 retail outlets nationwide, certified over 75 million pounds of Fair Trade coffee and generated over $60 million in additional income for workers on small coffee farms around the world. At present, TransFair is rapidly expanding Fair Trade certification into tea, chocolate, rice, sugar, bananas and other fresh fruits. Fair Trade certification has helped open the American market to over 1.2 million family farm workers around the world who are now getting a fair price for their harvests and making dramatic gains in their living standards.
Prior to launching TransFair, Rice worked for 11 years as a rural development specialist in the mountainous Segovias region of Nicaragua, where he founded and led a highly successful organic coffee export cooperative called PRODECOOP. In 2000, he received the prestigious international Ashoka Fellowship for his pioneering work as a social entrepreneur in the Fair Trade movement. He was also honored by the Klaus Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship as one of the world’s top 40 Social Entrepreneurs in 2002. More recently, in January 2004 and 2005, he spoke on Fair Trade at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Rice has authored several publications, including “Sustainable Coffee at the Crossroads” (Consumer Choice Council, 1999), which analyzes the emerging U.S. market for sustainable coffee. Rice holds economics and political science degrees from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
His talk is sponsored by the Amherst College President’s Office.