Fair Trade's Growing Pains: Pivoting a Successful Model

Fair Trade's Growing Pains: Pivoting a Successful Model

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Entrepreneur Magazine interviews Paul Rice about groundbreaking changes in #FairTrade: http://bit.ly/J2sMXf @EntMagazine

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Monday, April 30, 2012 - 6:00pm

CONTENT: Article

When Paul Rice launched Fair Trade USA 14 years ago, it wasn’t easy. He didn't draw a paycheck for six months. The second year, he went without for another six months. But the early struggles, he says, were cake compared with the challenge he faces shifting an already successful business model.

“Once you have actually built something, once you have a successful venture that is creating value and creating jobs,” he says, “there is so much more to lose.” But, he adds, to grow you have to be willing to think critically about your assumptions and existing systems.

Fair Trade USA is a non-profit, third-party certifier of sustainably produced goods, often coffee, tea, and chocolate, in the U.S, branding 95% of fair trade products sourced directly from farmers in countries across Latin America, Central America, Africa, and Asia. The Oakland, Calif.-based organization works with about 800 companies. Last year, U.S. sales of Fair Trade certified goods reached $1.5 billion. Fair Trade has entered agreements with such companies as Whole Foods, Dunkin’ Donuts, Green Mountain Coffee, Sam’s Club and Starbucks. 

Read full article online here: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/223441