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Fair Trade USA appoints Sugumar Raman as Chief Program Officer

Raman will lead on implementing Fair Trade USA’s sustainable sourcing certification programmes and will advocate for its new Innovation for Impact Initiative

Raman’s appointment follows the launch of Fair Trade USA’s new Innovation for Impact Initiative | Photo credit: Fair Trade USA


Fair Trade USA has appointed Sugumar Raman as its new Chief Program Officer. 

In a press release, the California-based non-profit said Raman will be responsible for designing and implementing its sustainable sourcing certification programmes, with a particular focus on increasing Fair Trade USA’s global impact. 

“We are extremely lucky to have Sugumar join our team. His years of leadership experience on the front lines of the global sustainable sourcing movement will be a tremendous asset to our organisation as we continue to reimagine how to best deliver the deepest and broadest impact to the farmers and planet we serve,” said Paul Rice, CEO, Fair Trade USA. 

Founded in 1998, Fair Trade USA operated under the Fairtrade International umbrella until 2011, when it branched off to grow ‘the impact of the fair trade movement to new products, geographies, and producers’. 

In July 2023, the non-profit controversially announced a freeze on its current minimum pricing and premiums for all coffee sold under its Fair Trade Certified label through 2023. 

The following month, Fairtrade International increased its Minimum Price for coffee to offer a ‘safety net’ for coffee farmers grappling with high inflation, rising production costs and erratic market prices. 

Fair Trade USA said Raman will be an important stakeholder in its new Innovation for Impact Initiative, a ‘multi-stakeholder engagement and design lab’ aimed at developing a more scalable, higher-impact Fair Trade Certified coffee programme. 

In August 2023, the non-profit announced the members of its new Coffee Impact Advisory Board, which will provide ‘critical input’ on the initiative.

Chaired by Rüdiger Meyer, founder and former CEO of FLOCERT, the board also includes Lindsey Bolger, Former SVP and Managing Director of Keurig Trading, Jorge Cuevas, Chief Coffee Officer at Sustainable Harvest Importers, Jérôme Perez, Global Head of Sustainability at Nespresso, and Matt Smith, EVP of Supply Chain and Sustainability at Westrock Coffee

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