Bentley Alumni Commits to Careers in Fair Trade
Allyson Myers ’93, director of marketing and customer experience at Lake Champlain Chocolates, has been with the company since graduating from Bentley. In the late 1990s, she spearheaded efforts to achieve fair trade certification for the company’s first product group, a line of hot chocolate mixes.
“It’s been so gratifying for me to see the momentum the fair trade movement has taken over the past 25 years,” says Myers. “A few years ago, I was able to visit our cocoa farmers in the Dominican Republic and see firsthand the community development projects they have undertaken. I visited a school and community center that housed a technology room and witnessed the benefits of clean water sources.
As Del’s Coffee Roasters founder Paul Delmonico ’92 offered coffee samples to show attendees, he shared the story of his business model.
“I started the company in 2020 because of my love for specialty coffee and my passion for home roasting unique coffee beans from around the world,” he says. “As the business grew to the point where I was roasting full-time at my Waltham factory, I recognized the importance of making sure the beans I roasted came from Fair Trade and Organic certified farms.”
Many farms and communities that grow specialty coffee around the world, he says, rely on hard-working people to pick, sort and process the coffee by hand. “This work is physically demanding and labour-intensive, but fair trade certification means these people have their basic needs covered, ensuring and supporting an existence worthy of human dignity.”
Jonathan White, director of the BSLCE and associate professor of sociology, says that around 10% of the world’s population, or 770 million people, live on less than $1.90 a day. “People are living in desperate poverty and their life expectancy is reduced, with many dying of hunger and hunger-related diseases. So when we talk about a company making the decision to pay its employees fairly, we’re saying it’s life changing now and maybe even offering hope for the next generation.