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Pathways in Business and the Environment: A Conversation with Paul Rice, Fair Trade USA


Join us for a conversation with Paul Rice, Founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA to discuss his career path and the founding and managing of the internationally-acclaimed social enterprise and leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. People called him crazy in the beginning, but Paul had a bold vision for Fair Trade: from his years in Nicaragua, he knew that farmers and workers could learn to navigate the global market and empower themselves on a journey out of poverty. He believed that business could become a major force for social and environmental change, creating “shared value” and sustainability with profitability. In short, Paul believed deeply that the FairTrade movement would have a major impact on the world and also help propel a much larger, lasting shift toward Conscious Capitalism. Twenty years later, Fair Trade has grown into a widely-known and increasingly mainstream consumer trend that is rapidly approaching an inflection point. In 2016, consumer recognition of the Fair Trade Certified label reached 67% and U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade products grew to an estimated $6 billion.

Paul has been honored for his pioneering work by Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist of the Year award (four-time winner), Ethisphere’s 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics, Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2012 Finalist) and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The Texas-native holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he is now an Executive Fellow. Paul has spoken at the World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, Skoll World Forum, TEDx and numerous universities and conferences around the world.


Paul Rice

Founder, President & CEO at Fair Trade USA