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Fairtrade statement on the passing of Frans “Francisco” Van der Hoff

16 February, 2024

Fairtrade mourns the loss of beloved Fairtrade co-founder Frans “Francisco” Van der Hoff, the visionary behind the very first Fairtrade certification initiative. He was 84-years-old.

The Dutch missionary, who was born into a disciplined farming family, made it his life’s work to promote solidarity and justice, and create economies that work for people, not just corporations.

He embarked on a journey with coffee producers to challenge buyers and policy makers in Europe, and he pleaded for fair prices, wages, and living incomes for farmers. His collaboration with economist Nico Roozen and ecumenical development agency Solidaridad, resulted in the launch of Max Havelaar, the first Fairtrade label in 1988.

He envisioned Fairtrade as a social laboratory of sorts, one that tried radical new ideas, experimented with innovative ways of regulating trade, and found success because people and justice were always first. Today that success is the Fairtrade global system made up of over two million producers, farmers, and workers in over 70 countries.

We will continue to lead by his example and build upon his legacy to create a fairer future for all. His words live on in our mission: “Don’t forget how Fairtrade started – because no matter how the world evolves, we still need producers to lead in transparency, on matters that affect their livelihood and sustainability.”

May he rest in eternal peace.

From the staff, management and Board of the Fairtrade International