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Fairtrade’s new CEO

From the February 2017 issue.

The new CEO of Fairtrade International talks to GCR about what he hopes to achieve in his new role.

Green beans

In November 2016, the owner of one of the world’s most identifiable certification marks, Fairtrade International, announced its new CEO.

Darío Soto Abril comes to his new role as the CEO of Fairtrade International after almost 15 years at the Trust for the Americas, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer, building coalitions and public private partnerships around free trade, workers’ rights and human rights.

In his time at the Trust, Soto led the expansion of the organisation from just three member countries to 22 nations across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Soto’s work there resulted in greater participation of worker organisations and unions during trade negotiations in Colombia and Central America.

Originally hailing from Colombia, Soto says that his experience of growing up in the 1980s in a nation in the grip of a drug war was formative in the development of his attitude towards work by organisations such as Fairtrade International.

“Unionised workers were killed by paramilitary groups, farmers were displaced from their farms, minorities had very few rights,” he tells Global Coffee Report. “Because of my background, I felt very connected with Fairtrade’s mission.”

Soto also came across Fairtrade’s work in his role at the Trust of the Americas.

“An experience I always carry with me involved meeting members of a banana cooperative in Northern Colombia while I was working in identifying best practices in reconciliation and finding ways in which economic growth could contribute to peace efforts. The banana farmers I encountered explained to me how the Fairtrade premium helped their cooperatives make significant investments in their communities,” he says.

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