Yale School of Management

Leveraging Fair Trade to Lift Farmers Out of Poverty

Master of Advanced Management Colloquium

A business and social entrepreneur, Patrick Struebi pioneered the first fair trade avocados in Mexico and then replicated a sustainable business model in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Fairtrasa represents more than 5,000 farmers and is one of the largest fair trade and organic fruit exporter from Latin America.

The fair trade movement stated very slowly in Europe. We had banana, coffee, tea, sugar—that was all. While I was in Mexico, I thought maybe I could use my trading skills to do something for small-scale farmers. I wanted to tap into the engine of the market, to use economic forces to lift farmers out of poverty.

The fair trade system exists now because there is somebody who pays more, and that is the conscious consumer who walks into Whole Foods, stands in front of the bananas, sees the fair trade sticker, and is willing to pay 20 cents more. The system has grown because there’s someone who’s willing to pay more, and that differential made it possible for me to start the organization. When I began I never thought it would go to where we are today. It’s already beyond my wildest dreams. But I know it’s still a drop in the ocean when we look at the challenges of what the world is facing.Patrick Struebi, founder, Fairtrasa

About the Event

Fairtrasa founder Patrick Struebi speaks to students during a Master of Advanced Management colloquium.

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