General Assembly and Board

The international Fairtrade system is governed by the General Assembly and the Board of Directors. Members of the international Fairtrade system meet once a year at the General Assembly. This assembly with 50 percent producer representation/50 percent national Fairtrade organization representation decides on membership issues, approves the annual accounts, and ratifies new Board directors.

There are also annual assemblies for each national Fairtrade organization and the producer networks.

The Board of the international Fairtrade system is elected by the General Assembly and includes:

  • four board members nominated by the three producer networks
  • four board members nominated by the national Fairtrade organizations
  • three independent board members

Fairtrade International Board

Marike de Peña, Chair of the Board

Marike de Peña is Director and co-founder of Banelino, a banana cooperative comprising nearly 400 small farmers in the Northwestern Dominican Republic, since 2000. She also is Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Producer Organizations (CLAC) and has served on its board since 2006. 

Marike was born in Holland, but has lived and worked in the Dominican Republic for 25 years. Among other positions, she worked for the Dominican Land Reform Institute, where she supported small farmer groups in developing sustainable agricultural practices. She continued her focus on supporting small farmers by co-founding the Banelino cooperative in 1996. The cooperative works to defend the interests of farmers in the market and promotes strong farmer alliances and organization. Marike is also coordinator of a network of banana farmers, and president of the Dominican national platform for small Fairtrade farmers.

A strong advocate for the power of Fairtrade, Marike believes that it provides the social, economic and environmental conditions necessary for farmers to take control of their own lives and produce real and long-lasting development.

Gulam Juma, Vice Chair

Gulam Juma is a highly qualified senior executive with extensive and broad international experience in the private and non-profit sectors.  He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of World Trade Advisors, as well as Ambassador & Chief Operating Officer of World Academy.TV and Chief Operating Officer for World Tech Advisors. Previously, Mr Juma worked with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), where he spent 14 years with Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) and six years with Filtisac in Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa. Prior to this, he worked with Nestle Enterprises Limited in Canada.

Juma’s experience includes strategic planning and tactical execution; coaching, mentoring and leadership development; re-engineering, reorganization and restructuring; corporate social responsibility implementation and instilling ethical frameworks within organizations; financial stewardship and management; government relations; and governance and board development. He has a rich global perspective on different cultures and business nuances, as he has provided coordination and oversight support to missions in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Europe and the UK, and lived in three continents.

Jean-Paul Rigaudeau, Treasurer

Jean-Paul Rigaudeau is an executive with experience in health care and consumer goods in the United States, Europe, Japan and Latin America. He spent 30 years in leading positions in blue chip companies such as Beiersdorf (Nivea), Johnson&Johnson and Kraft, where he was EU President with responsibility for the coffee and chocolate businesses in particular. From 2009 to 2013, he was the CEO of Unilabs, Europe’s leading supplier of diagnostic services.

Rigaudeau has extensive experience in global management, growth strategy and team development. He has served on numerous boards, including the German Branded Goods Association.

Frans De Bie

Frans De Bie is an experienced manager with broad international exposure who has been serving in multinational business environments including Philips, Unilever, Chep and IBM for over 34 years. Having retired in 2005, he is now using this professional experience to serve in the NGO-world as director of Plan Belgium. Since 10 years he is enthusiastically active as board member of Max Havelaar in Belgium, and president since 5 years. He joined the Board of Fairtrade International in 2012.

De Bie has always had a strong interest in various cultures and developing world problems. As general manager of Chep, he started a fund called "the world, my village" to support NGO projects in the south. Based on that experience he became a co-founder of KAURI, a Belgian cooperation of businesses and NGO's striving for Corporate Social Responsibility with a focus on third world issues.

Melchior Lengsfeld

Melchior Lengsfeld has been the Executive Director of Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, a Swiss-based NGO engaged in international cooperation since 2005. Its mission is to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged populations in 32 partner countries in Africa, Asia, South and Central America and Eastern Europe. The promotion of smallholder farmers through sustainable agriculture, secure land rights, fair value chains and market system development is one of Helvetas' focus themes.

In earlier assignments Melchior worked in India, Mozambique and Mali, among other topics on the development of national and international value chains under different certification schemes, and on the formulation of Fairtrade standards. Melchior has been a member of the foundation council of Max Havelaar Switzerland since 2006, at present as its vice-chair.

Melissa Duncan

Melissa Duncan is a shareholder director of a long-established manufacturing business in the North of England and of a start-up lingerie design business. She spent five years working for a leading Fair Trade organization and development charity in the UK and served as a Trustee and the Vice Chairman of the UK Fairtrade Foundation for six years.

She has a 20 year background in marketing and communications which spans corporate and charity sectors, including WHSmith plc, where she held the position head of communications. An American, Melissa also worked in East Asia for a number of years, before moving to the UK to do an MBA at Cranfield University and ultimately settling there.

Wanja Lundby-Wedin

Wanja Lundby-Wedin has been President of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation since 2000. Between 2007 and 2011 she also held the role of President of the European Trade Union Confederation.

After having worked as an assistant nurse in Stockholm, she began her trade union career in 1981 at the Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union, and has remained a passionate trade unionist ever since. She is committed to the vision of a just society, where all have access to a decent working environment.

Bharath Mandanna

Bharath Mandanna is Vice President of the Plantation Division of Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Ltd, where he has worked for over three decades. He is responsible for the corporation’s tea & coffee plantations in India and Tanzania. All the tea plantations are Fairtrade certified.

He is also the chair of the Nominations Committee and a member of the Finance Committee of Fairtrade International.

Bharath was the Chairman of the Indian Fairtrade certified producers network for four years between 2006 to 2010, known as the Association of Indian Fairtrade Producers (AIFP). He has been an active board member of the Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) for five years and was elected Chairman of the NAPP at the General Assembly in January 2012, reelected in 2014.

Tapan Ray

Tapan Ray is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nature Bio-Foods Ltd, dealing in organic and Fairtrade certified products. He is a postgraduate in Agricultural Science with more than 20 years of experience in the sector including farming operation, supply chain management, quality and food safety certification, finance, product development, export and domestic business development and has fair understanding of the socio-economical dynamics of farming communities across India and overseas.

Tapan is a board member of the Association of Indian Organic Industry. He is also the president of the Fair Farming Foundation, an NGO working on the various social issues in different parts of India. He has been associated with Fairtrade for many years; during the last general assembly of the Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) in February 2014 he got elected as a board member representing rice and cotton producers under contract production. He is also the coordinator of the NAPP Rice and Cotton Network.

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