January 30, 2013 – The Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI), the Skoll Foundation, Fundación Avina, and Fair Trade USA recently hosted a daylong event aimed at making global supply chains more sustainable. President Bill Clinton joined thirty-seven leaders from the business, farming, academic, NGO and philanthropic communities to address key challenges around global poverty and environmental degradation, market failures and growing economic disparity. Together they generated ideas for strengthening supply chains in ways that benefit businesses, workers and the environment, while improving the lives of impoverished farming communities around the world.
President Clinton challenged participants to find creative solutions to these pressing problems, highlighting the role that Fair Trade can play.
In response, leaders from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), Whole Foods Market, Reunion Island Coffee, Alter Eco and Honest Tea committed to increasing their support of Fair Trade coffee, tea, cocoa and produce. Global non-governmental organizations committed to investing in Fair Trade farmers with capital and training, while participating foundations pledged increased funding for impact evaluation, consumer education and farmer capacity building.
“For more than a decade, Fair Trade has been a key part of GMCR’s sustainable sourcing strategy because it helps us provide high quality coffee to our consumers and a higher quality of life for coffee farmers,” said Brian P. Kelley, President and CEO of GMCR. “We continue to strengthen our commitment to Fair Trade through our breadth of products, projects in coffee-growing communities, and consumer awareness campaigns.”
While celebrating the successful history of Fair Trade in alleviating poverty and contributing to sustainable supply chains, the group recognized that there’s far more work to be done. Over two billion people still live on less than two dollars per day. Current marketplace trends, especially the unprecedented demand for agricultural commodities, present a unique opportunity to link more farmers with more companies, unleashing benefits to farming communities at a scale not seen before.
“We believe the best solutions will come from partnering with organizations across the supply chain,” said Frank Giustra, Chairman, Director and Founder of the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, “and this fits squarely with our focus on job creation and income generation for low-income communities.”
This powerful slice of the global multi-stakeholder community revealed a remarkable unanimity in their desire to work together to take Fair Trade and its impact to scale.
“This powerful new vision, which we call Fair Trade for All, innovates and goes beyond the historic Fair Trade model,” said Paul Rice, President and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “We seek to expand the opportunities and benefits of Fair Trade to millions of farming families around the world by supporting responsible companies as they develop more sustainable supply chains. Our leadership convening represents an important step forward in this journey.”
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Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative:
Established in June 2007 by President Bill Clinton and philanthropist Frank Giustra, the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI) is an innovative partnership among the William J. Clinton Foundation, the private sector, governments, local communities, and other NGOs that seeks to narrow the wealth gap in the developing world by empowering the poor through effective, results-oriented economic and social development projects. CGSGI focuses on alleviating poverty through market-driven development that creates jobs and increases incomes, and by strengthening factors that enable economic growth such as health and education. CGSGI creates value by forging cross-sectoral partnerships, designing innovative programs and bringing them to scale, aligning stakeholders, and mainstreaming best practices. The Initiative is committed to assuring transparent and efficient use of resources, and integrating rigorous monitoring and evaluation into its projects.
Fundación Avina is a Latin American organization working towards the sustainable development of this continent, encouraging the forging of alliances between leaders from different sectors. In each of country where Avina works, it acts as a hotspot for solutions to tomorrow’s challenges. Avina also works on a global level, brokering alliances between its Latin American allies and other institutional partners all over the world to promote further action and expand their range of impact. When Avina identifies an opportunity with its partners, we broker alliances around shared agendas for action that can contribute to a regionally relevant scale of impact. AVINA invests directly in these shared agendas on the ground, and looks for synergies and collaboration potential with the work of other international organizations. Avina seeks a prosperous, integrated, and democratic Latin America, inspired in its diversity, built in solidarity by its citizens, and known globally for its own model of sustainable and inclusive development.
Jeff Skoll created The Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001, its mission is to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Over the past 14 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $342 million, including investments in 97 social entrepreneurs and 80 organizations on five continents. In addition to grant-making, the Foundation funds a $20 million+ portfolio of program-related and mission-aligned investments. Skoll also operates the annual Skoll World Forum, the premier conference on social entrepreneurship, and shares the stories of social entrepreneurs through partnerships with leading film and broadcast organizations, including the PBS NewsHour and the Sundance Institute.
Fair Trade USA:
Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between companies and their international suppliers to ensure that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to empower and improve their communities. Fair Trade USA also educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into Fair Trade, and provides farming communities with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople.
Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative
Marcus Fuchs, Communications Director
Karen Duffin, Communications Director
Fair Trade USA
Jenna Larson, Public Relations Manager