Fairtrade Foundation’s Harriet Lamb wins Cosmo Ultimate eco queen accolade
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation was last night named Ultimate eco queen at the Ultimate Women of the Year Awards by Cosmopolitan magazine. The ceremony took place at Banqueting House, Whitehall in London and was attended by an array of top celebrities, including Sugababes and Kim Cattrall.
Along with a diverse group of different nominees, the award recognizes her contributions to Fairtrade. Commenting on the accolade, Harriet Lamb said: ‘I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of the millions of women in developing countries and the many Cosmo readers and women in this country who helped put Fairtrade on shop shelves.
‘Earlier this year I met a mother in Malawi who grows tea sold to Britain. She is paid so little for her crop on the conventional market that she has to choose between eating a main meal every day or keeping her own children inschool. These human stories motivate me to ensure that Fairtrade continues to grow so that we can work with millions more producers in developing countries.’
Other award categories included Ultimate friends, Ultimate survivor, Ultimate against all odds star, Ultimate woman’s woman , Ultimate heroine, Ultimate editor’s choice, Ultimate save the planet pioneer, Ultimate man. There were also separate celebrity categories.
Harriet Lamb has been Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation since 2001. She has guided the Foundation through a period of staggering growth, which has seen estimated sales of Fairtrade products in the UK increase from £30m in her first year to more than £493m in 2007. Sales have been increasing by more than 40 per cent year-on-year since 2002. The number of products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark is now more than 4,000. This enables some 7.5 million farmers and workers and their families across the world to participate in Fairtrade. A flourishing grassroots social movement has also grown across the UK. There are now nearly 400 Fairtrade Towns – towns where a commitment to Fairtrade has been made by the council, shops and businesses – together with 72 Fairtrade Universities and over 4,000 Fairtrade Places of Worship.
Harriet came to the Fairtrade Foundation from Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) in Germany where she was Acting Director and Banana Co-ordinator. Before this, she worked as Head of Campaigns at the World Development Movement (WDM) and with other non-governmental organisations, always with an interest in international development issues.
Harriet spent part of her childhood in India when her businessman father went to work there. As an adult, she returned to work with farmers in rural villages and landless labourer cooperatives. Harriet was educated at St Mary’s in Calne, Wiltshire and then Cambridge. She later studied for an MPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex. As well as travelling extensively in India, Harriet has travelled in Sri Lanka, Africa and Central America.
In February 2008, Harriet’s book Fighting the Banana Wars and Other Fairtrade Battles was published by Ebury. The book is a fascinating story about the rise of Fairtrade and what that means for producers in the developing world. Harriet says the battle has only just begun. ‘With each Fairtrade purchase, we are helping build that living, more humane alternative,’ she says. ‘And, at the end of the day, I am a mother who wants mothers the world over to realise the same dreams for their children as mine.’
Harriet lives in south London with her partner and two children and can often be seen cycling around London. Harriet was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2006, in recognition of her work in building Fairtrade in the UK. She was voted the second most influential eco foodie in the UK after Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in the Observer Food Monthly magazine, January 2008.
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Notes to Editors
1. The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. Today, more than 7 million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.