Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne to deliver keynote at the 9th National Fair Trade Conference

MONTREAL, March 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 9th National Fair Trade Conference, led by Fairtrade Canada, is set to take place on March 16-17, 2024, in Montreal, QC. Hosted by Concordia University, the event will convene representatives from some of Canada’s leading higher education institutions, activists, members of civil society, and visionary brands.

Themed "Down to Earth," the conference commemorates three decades of Fairtrade in Canada while casting a discerning eye on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Against a backdrop of evolving global dynamics, participants will engage in dialogue, collaboration, and knowledge exchange aimed at inspiring a continued commitment to the principles of fair trade.

Distinguished speakers include Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne, who will explore the future of human rights in Canadian supply chains, as well as Victor Cordero, a visionary coffee farmer and General Manager of RED ECOLSIERRA in Colombia, who will share firsthand perspectives on building a sustainable coffee industry.

“This is a pivotal moment for the fair trade movement in Canada,” says Julie Francoeur, CEO of Fairtrade Canada. “In just two years, the awareness of Fairtrade in Canada has increased by 15%. We’re seeing more and more businesses commit to ethically and environmentally sound sourcing practices. Canada’s Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act just came into effect this year. There is a lot of hope and drive for a better future.”

Panels will give the opportunity for brands like Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, Tony's Chocolonely, and Equifruit to share how their businesses are innovating towards sustainability and building more equitable supply chains.

Highlighted sessions at the conference include:

  • Tony's Chocolonely, the chocolate industry's biggest disruptor, will tackle the issue of child labour in cocoa production.
  • Keurig Dr Pepper Canada will join Colombian coffee farmer Victor Cordero for a discussion on climate change and a collective approach to building a sustainable coffee industry.
  • Speakers from Equifruit, Equal Exchange, and Longo’s will discuss the future of sustainable fresh produce.

Reflecting on the conference's significance, Loïc De Fabritus Gautier, Senior Manager of Advocacy and Citizen Engagement at Fairtrade Canada, says "30 years after the introduction of the Fairtrade label in Canada, the fair trade model is more alive and relevant than ever. It’s inspiring and energizing to have over a hundred participants from across Canada gather to continue to build upon the legacy of the fair trade movement."

The conference stands as a vital nexus for dialogue, collaboration, and innovation in ethical trade, uniting stakeholders, advocates, and industry leaders to propel the fair trade movement forward in Canada and beyond.

Pippa Rogers