Editorial: The Promise of Fair Trade

Written by Cafe Campesino on Jun 1, 2004 in Editorial, NEWSLETTER |
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We are thrilled to have our long-time friend Tripp Pomeroy on board as a new partner and manager at Café Campesino. Please take a few moments to read Tripp’s inspiring thoughts on joining the wonderful world of Fair Trade!

by Tripp Pomeroy, Café Campesino

As a relative newcomer to the Fair Trade movement and new member of the Café Campesino staff, I continue to be impressed by the openness, diversity and goodwill of the individuals, companies and organizations I meet day after day. In a world that is increasingly polarized, it is refreshing to be part of a cause-driven business that eschews the division, distrust and cynicism that all too often characterize our daily lives.

Having spent the past fifteen years working in the non-profit and for-profit private sectors (primarily in the US and Latin America), I have developed a solid understanding of the traditional, win-lose approach to business and its exploitative nature. I have repeatedly witnessed its disastrous impact on people, communities and their social economies. Ignorance, greed, a lack of self-control and/or an external locus of control (i.e., blame others or other factors for one’s actions) or some combination of these have almost always been the cause of the needless suffering of so many.

The solution: Fair Trade. With its commitment to integrity, transparency and responsibility and track record as a viable, profitable, sustainable business model, Fair Trade offers a bona fide alternative for the global marketplace. As a proven method for running healthier businesses and economies, Fair Trade empowers all the players – from the producers to the consumers – to enrich not only their lives but also the lives of those who have traditionally been deprived of the benefits of economic development. Fair Trade is far more than a business philosophy; it is an economic paradigm that synthesizes the best elements of capitalism with the critical mechanisms necessary to ensure the equitable and responsible “management of the commons”. As such, I consider Fair Trade to be the way that we all can and should do business.

Within this context, I believe that it is Café Campesino’s responsibility to work with its colleagues to transform Fair Trade coffee from a niche product within the specialty coffee market to a defining characteristic of specialty coffee itself. Doing so meets a practical as well as philosophical need, adding a critical human component to the definition of quality and raising the bar for businesses that have not yet bought into the concept of Fair Trade.

For those of us who do practice Fair Trade, it is imperative that we promote it in such a way that Fair Trade stands for unity and harmony rather than contention and division. As a logical approach to business, Fair Trade practices can work for any size and type of company. All businesses should be considered prospects for the Fair Trade movement and as such, approached with a patient, long-term perspective. You never know when a prospect will turn into a customer.

As Café Campesino continues to grow and evolve, we have a unique opportunity to deepen our coffee’s role as a vehicle for social change. By roasting and delivering great fair trade coffee, providing superior customer service and implementing an aggressive public awareness campaign, we will succeed in making the most of this opportunity and, most importantly, honor our commitment to the producers, their families and their communities.

About Tripp:
Tripp Pomeroy has more than 15 years of working experience in business and new venture development and management, international trade (import/export), sales and marketing, communications and public relations. He has lived and worked in Mexico and Paraguay and has worked on a variety of business ventures in Argentina, Brazil and Italy.

Tripp began his career in 1989 as the Director of Public Relations for the 1990 Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) Jimmy Carter Work Project in Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, California. Since then he has worked as the general manager of two large landscape contracting firms in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, served as the Director of Communications of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and managed the Latin America Regional office for The WorldGate Trade & Marketing Group in Asuncion, Paraguay. After leaving WorldGate, Tripp opened his own consulting firm in Paraguay, eventually returning to the United States where he continued his consulting business until joining Café Campesino on June 1st.

Tripp holds a Master’s Degree in International Development from the American University School of International Service in Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Tufts University. He has studied in Valencia, Spain, Kingston, Jamaica and Poznan, Poland and is fluent in Spanish.

Tripp recently moved to Americus, Georgia with his wife, their two children, dog and a pair of nocturnal sugar gliders.

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