The Fairtrade Foundation has appointed Mike Gidney to the role of Deputy Executive Director in a move that will help the organisation deliver its ambitious objectives for 2012. These include increasing the impact Fairtrade is having on poverty, doubling the number of producers who benefit from Fairtrade and reaching £2bn in annual sales in the UK.
Mike joins the Foundation at a time when the benefits of Fairtrade are needed more than ever. The global recession is hitting producers in developing countries particularly hard, coming so soon after the severe rise in food prices of 2008. Conditions in Malawi, for example, were less than promising at the onset of the global financial crisis, making the economy particularly vulnerable to fallout, according to the World Bank. Malawi is one of the countries where nut, sugar and tea producers are finding access to the UK Fairtrade market, which is beginning to make a real, positive difference to their communities.
Mike says: ‘I’m really delighted to be joining the Fairtrade Foundation at such a critical time. I know how ambitious we’re being but feel sure we can achieve the scale and impact we’re aiming for. In such difficult economic times, Fairtrade is a lifeline for many communities in the developing world’.
Mike joins the Fairtrade Foundation from pioneering fair trade organisation Traidcraft Exchange, where he has been Director of Policy since 2001. A member of Traidcraft’s senior leadership team, he has built up their policy and campaigning programmes, working on issues including fair trade, trade justice, responsible purchasing practices, and Economic Partnership Agreements, advocating the voices of Traidcraft’s producer partners.
Having started out his career as a teacher in Kenya, Mike has worked in many African countries, including Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania.
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation said: ‘Mike’s joining the Fairtrade Foundation represents a significant strengthening of our capacity and he brings with him a strong background in policy and international development. We look forward to working with Mike to continue fighting poverty through trade, helping poor producers build more sustainable businesses and campaigning for fairer trade rules and practices internationally.’