Bentley Alumni Committed to Fair Trade Careers
Allyson Myers ’93 is Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at Lake Champlain Chocolates, and has been with the company since she graduated from Bentley. In the late 1990s, she led the company’s first products, a line of hot chocolate mixes, to Fair Trade certification.
“It’s heartening to see the momentum the Fairtrade movement has gained over the past 25+ years,” Myers said. “A few years ago, I was able to visit our cocoa growers in the Dominican Republic and see firsthand the community development projects they were running. I visited a school and a community center with a tech room and witnessed clean drinking The benefits of water.”
When Del’s Coffee Roasters founder Paul Delmonico ’92 offered coffee samples to show attendees, he shared the history behind his business model.
“I originally started this company in 2020 because I love specialty coffee and have a passion for home roasting unique coffee beans from around the world,” he said. “When the business grew to roasting full-time at my factory in Waltham, I realised the importance of making sure the beans I roast come from certified fair trade and organic farms.”
Many farms and communities around the world that grow specialty coffee rely on hardworking individuals to hand-select, sort and process coffee, he said. “This work is physically labor-intensive, but Fair Trade certification means that these people’s basic needs are met, ensuring and supporting existence worthy of human dignity.”
About 10 percent of the world, 770 million people, live on less than $1.90 a day, said Jonathan White, BSLCE director and associate professor of sociology. “People are living in extreme poverty, life expectancy is reduced, and many are dying from hunger and hunger-related diseases. So when we talk about a company deciding to pay its employees fairly, we say it’s both life-changing now, It might even give hope to the next generation.”