Napier Medal

2011 Napier Medalist

Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA

Paul Rice is the President & CEO of Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States.

Fair Trade is an innovative, market-based model for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. It empowers Conscious Consumers and rewards U.S. companies and Third World farmers who comply with rigorous social and environmental standards.

Since launching the Fair Trade Certified™ label in 1998, Fair Trade USA has established Fair Trade as one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. food industry. To date, Fair Trade USA has developed business partnerships with over 800 U.S. companies, including industry leaders Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Whole Foods, Target, Costco and Wal-mart. Fair Trade USA now certifies coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, fresh fruit, wine and flowers, and plans to add certified cotton and apparel.

U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade products in 2009 surpassed $1.2 billion. Between 1999 and 2009, low-income family farmers earned over $180 million in additional income selling to the U.S. Fair Trade market, allowing them to keep their children in school, care for the land, and dramatically improve their living standards.

Prior to launching Fair Trade USA, Paul Rice worked for 11 years as a rural development specialist in the mountains of Nicaragua, where he founded and led the country's first Fair Trade organic coffee export cooperative. His first-hand experience over the last 27 years in the areas of global supply chain transparency, social auditing, sustainable agriculture, and cooperative enterprise development is unique. Paul is now a leading advocate of global market linkage as a core strategy for sustainable community development.

Paul holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. His friendship with Davie and Joy Napier at Yale University inspired his decision to commit his life to sustainable development. Paul has spoken on Conscious Capitalism, Fair Trade and similar topics at the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative and other prestigious international gatherings, as well as at numerous universities and conferences.