New CEO at Fairtrade International

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New CEO at Fairtrade International

Darío Soto Abril says he will maintain the group's growth path in "making a better world for farmers and workers".

Fairtrade International has appointed Colombian-American Dario Soto Abril as its new CEO, taking over the role from Harriet Lamb who announced she'd be stepping down in September.

With its origins in community-oriented premiums for coffee and cacao, the group's purview has expanded to include a wide range of products over the past decade, including bananas and other fresh produce items. 

Dario Soto Abril. Photo: @Trust4Americas via Twitter

Dario Soto Abril. Photo: @Trust4Americas via Twitter

According to the group's '2015 Fairtrade Monitoring and Impact Report', 468,200 metric tons (MT) of fairtrade bananas were sold in 2013-14, along with 33,000MT of other fresh fruits certified under the scheme. 

Soto Abril, who is currently COO at Organization of American States (OAS) affiliate The Trust for the Americas in Washington D.C., will take up the new role in February, 2017.

"Fairtrade is one of the world’s best-known organizations and I’m honoured to have been asked to join it,” Soto ABril said.

"It’s both an exciting and challenging time, and together, we will maintain Fairtrade's growth path in making a better world for farmers and workers, while inspiring more businesses, governments and consumers to join us in our mission.

"It’s a massive challenge but one I am very much looking forward to."

Soto Abril has a strong track record in advocating with governments and businesses for the implementation of programmes and policies leading to economic inclusion of LGBT, at-risk youth, women and minorities.

During is time at the Trust/OAS he led the expansion from three to 22 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, building coalitions and public private partnerships around free trade, workers’ rights and human rights.

His efforts resulted in greater participation of worker organizations and unions during trade negotiations in Colombia and Central America.

"I am deeply committed to the goal of building a strong global system by encouraging a culture of partnership, transparency and shared accountability,” he said.

“To that end, I will work with the Board, producer networks, the national Fairtrade organizations and all members of the team in driving collaboration across all levels.”

Fairtrade International board chair Marike de Peña said the board was "delighted" to welcome the new CEO.

"Darío has a long history of working with producers, civil society, governments and business to achieve inclusive economic growth and wellbeing," she said.

"His experience will strengthen our role as a global movement for change and will help us drive the UN Sustainable Development Goals to deliver maximum impact for farmers, workers and producers."

Soto Abril grew up in Colombia before moving to the United States. He has previously worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and is a licensed attorney both in Colombia and in the State of New York.

He holds an LLM degree from Tulane University (New Orleans) and a public administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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