Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), the international not-for-profit seeking to make trade fair, is pleased to announce the appointment of Josie Pagani as its new Board Chair and Senthil Nathan as its new Chief Executive Officer.
The organisation, which has been operating in Australia and New Zealand since 2005, is part of the international Fairtrade system and is widely recognised as the most trusted ethical label in the world. The two appointments come at a critical time for the organisation as it seeks to take advantage of the increasing focus on conscious consumerism in both Australia and New Zealand.
Josie Pagani says she’s excited to have the opportunity to lead Fairtrade ANZ after serving as a member of the board for the last two and a half years.
“Fairtrade is the only organisation that guarantees a fair Minimum Price to producers in developing countries. Businesses and consumers can be reassured that Fairtrade products are high quality and sustainable. There are many certifications available these days. But if it’s not ‘Fairtrade’, it’s probably not fair trade,” she says.
Josie has had an impressive career in aid, politics, trade and the media. Most recently she was the Executive Director of the NZ Council for International Development (CID), as well as being an inaugural member of the NZ Trade for All Advisory Group and its Aid for Trade External Group.
“My connections and understanding of what works in development, plus my knowledge of the political landscape in our region combined with Senthil’s expertise in sustainability and business, will support Fairtrade to grow and flourish. I’m excited to work with Senthil and the dynamic Fairtrade team across the whole region,” she says.
She also expressed her gratitude to Dr Mike Briers who has been serving as Interim CEO while a more permanent replacement was recruited.
“Fairtrade would like to thank Mike for his leadership during a particularly challenging time. We are grateful for his ongoing commitment to the Fairtrade system and what it seeks to achieve both locally and internationally,” she says.
Senthil Nathan, who will start in the CEO position on Monday 24 April, was born to a family of small-hold paddy farmers in a Southern Indian village. He grew up watching the environmental and economic challenges faced by his community, which led him to embark on a career developing and implementing sustainability programs in the food and agricultural sector.
Over the last two decades Senthil has helped the world’s leading food and beverage companies with their supply chain transparency, responsible sourcing, regenerative agriculture and carbon management initiatives. He has worked extensively with rural communities, producer cooperatives, governments and businesses in over forty countries.
While Senthil has, for the last six years been working in Indonesia leading the Asia Operations of Enveritas, a New York-based non-profit, his connection to Fairtrade dates back many years.
“I started my career in the corporate sector, spending over ten years working with companies such as PepsiCo and General Mills. Ultimately though, I was drawn back to agriculture. I wanted to find solutions to the problems faced by farmers like my parents while helping businesses and consumers to embrace sustainability in their sourcing and purchasing,” he says.
This conviction led him to a role leading market access and producer sustainability in the Fairtrade Asia Pacific Regional office (NAPP).
“I joined Fairtrade to connect disadvantaged producers and consumers, promote fairer trading conditions, and empower producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position, and take more control over their lives,” he says.
Following his time at Fairtrade, Senthil cemented his commitment to international development by studying for his MPA at Columbia University specialising in sustainable development and food systems. He believes this deepened his understanding of how existing market mechanisms can be used to address challenges with the way trade works.
“My interest lies at the intersection of business and sustainable development. Ultimately, I believe in the power of markets to build a better world,” he explains.
“Fairtrade engineers solutions to make trade fair so I feel like returning at this time with more experience and understanding will allow me to unleash the full potential of partnerships between farmers, business and consumers to build a fair and just world.”