A Fairtrade Farewell from Nyagoy Nyong’o

28 March 2022   |   Fairtrade America

Dear Friends and Fairtraders,

On 11 January 2021, I took the reins of Fairtrade International as Interim Global CEO with the stated objective of steering this exceptional organization towards new horizons. Now, just over a year later, it is time for me to bid farewell to our remarkable global community as I prepare to step down at the end of this month.

During this past year, Fairtrade has made significant strides in achieving its vision of fairness. We unveiled a new global strategy that reinvigorates our social justice mission, our commitment to building sustainable livelihoods for all, and our dedication to the millions of farmers and consumers who look to Fairtrade as a tool for achieving a better world. We launched a brand refresh, reimagining what fair looks like and reiterating our belief that the future is indeed fair. And we continued our hard work on the ground where it matters most: graduating new cohorts from our Women’s Leadership Schools; elevating farmers’ voices at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow; and growing new partnerships with leading organizations and companies who share our fair trade values and vision. It has been a busy year. It has been a successful year. But I also know that the best is yet to come.

I have long been guided by an overarching principle succinctly captured in an African proverb: “However long the night, the dawn will break.” It is a proverb rooted in optimism. And it reflects Fairtrade’s ethos because our philosophy is founded on the credo that a better world is not just possible, it is necessary.

A quick look at today’s world presents a rather stark picture of our reality. Climate change. Conflict. Endemic poverty. COVID-19. As each day passes, we are continuously reminded about the existential threats which affect us as individuals and as communities. But even more so, we are reminded of how these threats affect us as a global collective.

That’s why, as I prepare to depart Fairtrade, I can say with the utmost certainty that I have more faith in Fairtrade’s purpose and mission than ever before. I leave Fairtrade with the conviction that this organization will continue to work for an ethical, fair, and sustainable supply chain, leading on efforts to establish flourishing and sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers; ensuring that human rights and environmental due diligence is the norm; and connecting climate-conscious consumers to the products they love.

The interconnectedness of our global society demonstrates that it is organizations like Fairtrade, which address complicated and systemic problems in holistic manners, that truly have the greatest impact.

Here’s to many more years of Fairtrade successes across the world. Because we know the future is fair.

Dr. Nyagoy Nyong’o

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