Fairtrade America, an independent, third party certification that betters the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries, is pleased to announce the hire of Peg Willingham as the organization’s new Executive Director.
In this role, Willingham will lead the US chapter of Fairtrade International in increasing brand awareness and engagement with consumers and businesses; identifying new partnership opportunities; and expanding Fairtrade’s influence in policy circles and civil society. She brings 30 years of international advocacy and nonprofit experience to this position, most recently as the Head of Advocacy and Policy at the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) HarvestPlus program. In that role, Willingham worked with governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America to combat micronutrient deficiencies and improve nutrition among smallholder farming communities.
Willingham joins Fairtrade America at a time when the organization’s work is especially important as the almost two million producers who grow the products we enjoy every day handle the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Willingham’s expertise in agriculture, resource mobilization, partnerships and policy will strengthen Fairtrade America’s approach to improving the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the globe both now and into the future, as well as to encourage more American companies and consumers to prioritize Fairtrade certified goods.
“We are grateful to have Peg join the Fairtrade family and tap into her wealth of knowledge in affecting change across all the stakeholders involved in the Fairtrade system,” said Tim Beaty, Chair of Fairtrade America’s Board of Directors. “Just as important as her expertise is Peg’s passion, perseverance and enthusiasm, which are core to the culture and values of our organization.”
“I feel lucky and excited to be joining this talented team and important global movement. Throughout my career, I have witnessed first-hand the challenges experienced by producers, including those cultivating coffee and bananas in Latin America, tea in Africa and rice in Asia. Collaborating with these communities, as well as with companies who partner with them, is a dream job for me,” said Willingham. “My first priority will be to listen and learn from my colleagues, board members, and key global stakeholders. I will bring a fresh perspective to an already strong organization and hope to catalyze new ideas.”
Willingham earned a great deal of respect in international affairs as a diplomat in Latin America and the Middle East, and by leading teams at mission-driven non-profits. She is passionate about improving the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farming families by minimizing the impact of climate change, poverty and gender inequality.
About Fairtrade America
Fairtrade America betters the lives of farmers and workers in developing countries by inspiring businesses to implement ethical production practices and assisting shoppers in making informed purchasing decisions. Fairtrade America is the US chapter of Fairtrade International, the original and global leader in fair trade certification with over 30 years of experience working to make trade fair, with headquarters in more than 30 countries across the globe. A non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Fairtrade America is the world's largest and most recognized fair trade system—part of a global movement for change.