Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), a four-time winner of Fast Company Magazine’s Social Capitalist award, is an internationally renowned social enterprise that promotes sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. Founded in 1998, FTUSA is the leading independent third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Its unique market-based model for sustainability links millions of farming families in the developing world to leading U.S. and global companies through more direct, equitable trading partnerships. Fair Trade empowers working and farming families to improve their living standards while protecting the environment. At the same time, it strengthens global supply chains and makes sustainability a driver of profitability for the business community. To date, FTUSA has channeled over $400 million in additional income to hardworking farmers and workers around the world.
To learn more about Fair Trade, please visit their website here.
How It Works
Fair Trade USA takes pride in having developed strong partnerships with over 1,200 U.S. and global companies – from importers and exporters to brands and retailers of coffee, tea, chocolate, sugar, fresh produce, fish, apparel, home goods, and dozens of other product categories. Its unique, “shared value” model ensures that farmers and workers in the global supply chain achieve better working conditions, incomes and living standards. At the same time, Fair Trade enables brands and retailers to develop stronger supply chains, reputations, and consumer loyalty. Today, 59% of U.S. shoppers recognize the Fair Trade Certified™ label and 20% are buying Fair Trade products. The rapid growth of the Fair Trade market over the last 17 years suggests that a more enlightened model of conscious capitalism is emerging – enabling people, planet, and profit to thrive together.
The Position & Key Priorities
FTUSA is investing significant capital in its global expansion and is well positioned for its next phase of growth, impacting the lives of millions of families. The Vice President of Marketing & Communications will join this incredible journey and help shape the strategies that drive the organization’s plans to scale. This is a rare history-making opportunity to work with a strong brand with a commitment of resources behind it and an appetite for daring approaches to marketing and communications.
Reporting to the Chief Revenue Officer, the Vice President will develop innovative and comprehensive programs that blend all elements of cause marketing—from advertising and public relations, to digital and social media, to grassroots ambassador campaigns, to in-store marketing.
Key objectives include:
- Activate Consumers: Increase consumer awareness, adoption, and loyalty to help promote sales growth across all FTUSA categories – helping consumers understand the concept of Fair Trade, why it matters, and the impact that their purchases can have when buying Fair Trade Certified™ products.
- Excite Businesses: Ensure companies become and remain familiar with Fair Trade and understand the benefits it can bring to both profit and sustainability. Support partner brands in their efforts to educate consumers and build demand for Fair Trade products.
- Engage Stakeholders: Grow awareness of FTUSA’s brand, mission, and theory of change so that others in the space, including Fair Trade campaign advocates, social enterprises, NGOs, and funders, are aware of FTUSA’s impact and how they can collaborate in a globally transformative movement.
In support of its growth plans, FTUSA is in the early stages of launching an ambitious Consumer Activation Plan, a multi-pronged strategy to design the next iteration of its website, pilot experimental consumer engagement tactics, test innovative social media campaigns, and boost staff and resources for the Marketing & Communications team. The Vice President will own and manage this initiative through to completion, including working with a world-class agency that has been hired to support the design and implementation of the plan.
Partnership and influencer marketing strategies will be critical components for the Vice President to incorporate into the organization’s approach in order to leverage the resources and ideas of over 1,200 leading brand partners. Wherever possible, the Vice President will craft appropriate strategies for engagement and coordination for joint marketing campaigns, storytelling, and messaging. As such, this role requires refined abilities to understand brand partners’ needs, including how to navigate complex, highly interconnected relationships as well as how to co-develop national marketing programs with major brands and retailers.
The Vice President is a member of senior management and will oversee a team of talented marketing and communications professionals as well as outside agencies that provide support on public relations, graphic design, and the Consumer Activation Plan initiative. This position will require strong collaboration and integration across all organizational disciplines and functions, not only with the product category and business development teams, but also with operations, finance, and resource development in order to implement and monitor effective marketing strategies which build momentum for FTUSA efforts and drive growth for Fair Trade Certified™ products.
The Ideal Candidate
FTUSA seeks an innovative and resourceful Vice President of Marketing & Communications who is passionate about its mission to create profound, measurable impact for farming and working families around the world. A savvy and visionary marketing leader who thrives in a collaborative, entrepreneurial environment, the new Vice President will design bold, inspiring, and contemporary campaigns to build brand, visibility, and consumer awareness around the importance of buying and using Fair Trade Certified™ products.
The ideal candidate will be experienced developing modern marketing capabilities which represent best practices around team leadership, talent development, work processes, and technology platforms and tools. Success in the digital marketing world is essential, yet candidates must be well grounded in traditional brand marketing, media, and public relations. The role requires a solid track record developing effective, results-driven social media campaigns, especially with social influencers. In a limited resource environment, it takes ingenuity and a tenaciousness to devise campaigns that deliver explosive and exponential outcomes relative to the dollars invested. Candidates must therefore understand the viral marketing tactics that can produce these types results. The Vice President must also be a compelling and inspiring storyteller and content developer in order to effectively communicate Fair Trade USA’s impact and mission.
The Vice President will have strong leadership skills and the ability to effectively manage people and projects to deliver results. This includes building and mentoring top performing teams. A high attention to detail and the ability to prioritize competing demands are necessary. Additionally, candidates must have a thirst for data and analytics to drive decision-making, as well as know how to measure and track results through clear KPIs.
An outstanding collaborator, the Vice President will be savvy and consistent about engaging team members, peers, and partners to achieve results and maximize resources. Candidates must have experience developing relevant market research and consumer marketplace insights that can meet the needs of a variety of internal and external constituencies focused on selling the power of Fair Trade.
The Vice President will be a capable listener who can understand intent and goals, and then shape or refine marketing objectives accordingly. The ideal candidate will be a forward-looking and disciplined experimenter as well as someone who can scan the marketplace and business partner environment to proactively identify opportunities for new initiatives aligned with the organization’s goals.
FTUSA is a fast-paced, dynamic environment driven by a passion for doing good in the world. It values integrity, innovation, idealism, and impact. The Vice President must thrive in this highly entrepreneurial and results-focused setting, and will be excited about contributing to the organization’s ambitious plans for growth.
Candidates must have a minimum of ten years’ experience designing and executing marketing strategies, media relations plans, and brand communications. FTUSA prefers a proven track record of success advancing cutting edge approaches in cause marketing, lifestyle brand, or the CPG space. Especially desirable is an understanding of issue advocacy and the marketing of concepts as opposed to products or services. A background in issues management and public relations is also important.
Outstanding writing and editing skills and experience in both B2B and B2C marketing are essential. The role requires a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, journalism, public relations, or a related field; an advanced degree is preferred. This position requires some domestic travel.