Fairtrade International announces interim manager to oversee US operations

Fairtrade International (FLO) announced on 14 November that Enrique Hennings has been appointed interim Operations Manager for Fairtrade International USA. The new organisation will represent the FLO system in the United States. The need for new representation follows FTUSA's official resignation from the FLO at the end of 2011. The decision was largely based on FTUSA's move to certify coffee outside of smallholder farms, for background see <July 2012 Global Coffee Review, Factions in the Fair Trade movement>.   Hennings will now lead the process of establishing a new office, and work with stakeholders and businesses to build recognition of the FAIRTRADE Mark in the USA. “It’s high time to build our team and our work in the USA – and Enrique is the perfect person to get us off to a flying start,” said Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International in a statement. “Based in Washington, D.C., he will lay the groundwork for Fairtrade International USA – raising awareness among the public, working with companies, retailers and stakeholders. “Meanwhile, we have registered as a non-profit organization and are well on the way to appointing a Board, accountable to stakeholders, which will then recruit a permanent Executive Director.” Enrique has worked with Fairtrade International for two and a half years as the Producer Finance Manager. He initiated and led projects that have improved Fairtrade certified producers’ access to finance. His most notable achievement is the launch of the Fairtrade Access Fund, a joint project with Incofin IM and Grameen Foundation that is projected to grow to $25 million to provide loans to producer groups in Latin America. Originally from Bolivia, Enrique graduated as an agricultural economist and rural finance specialist, and lived in the USA for over 12 years before his move to Germany. He has worked for a number of international organizations, including the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, and has lived in several Latin American and African countries. FLO reported that a nominations committee made up of US stakeholders and members of the Fairtrade system is in the process of electing the first board members of Fairtrade International USA. Once this board is in place, they will be responsible for selecting the organisation’s first Executive Director. re.) “We’ve had great support from key partners in the US. We are delighted to be working with 26 companies – from dedicated Fairtrade brands to major companies – and thankful for the support of the producer networks and many NGOs,” said Lamb in the statement. “We will also, of course, be linking up with the Fair Trade towns movement that is so vital for building the grassroots social movement. Now it’s time to redouble our efforts to make sure more Americans learn about Fair Trade and have the opportunity to play an active part in tackling poverty overseas.”

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