Student Benjamin Conard Sole U.S. Nominee in International Fair Trade Competition

Ben Conard '16

Industry innovation Decent work and economic growth A SUNY Geneseo student is the sole nominee from the United States in a Fairtrade International contest to recognize the “Biggest Fairtrade Fan” in the world for 2016.

Benjamin Conard, a senior from Long Island, N.Y., is among ten finalists in the competition, which takes place through Dec. 18. Anyone can vote once in the competition by going to the candidates page. A simple click on Conard’s “Vote” button will cast your vote for him (you may have to scroll down the list).

“This is very exciting and I am honored to be among those in the running for this recognition,” said Conard, who is majoring in business with a minor in German. “Fair trade, as a means to support transparent, sustainable business practices around the world, is my biggest passion in life. I hope the contest continues to bring attention to this very important global initiative.”

The Biggest Fairtrade Fan competition recognizes and celebrates special efforts or innovation by outstanding individuals from within the international fair trade system. Conard has been involved in numerous fair trade activities while at Geneseo. Among them:

  • He is founder and president of Fair Trade Club and Fair Trade University Campaign at Geneseo, which has more than 50 members and more than 400 supporters.
  • He is the manager of Fair Trade Winds in Stony Brook, N.Y., a small business retail organization committed to transparency through fair business.
  • He is the student chair for Fair Trade Colleges & Universities in Oakland, Calif., and helps mobilize more than 100 student campaigns across the United States.
  • He delivered a TEDx SUNY Geneseo presentation titled: “Fair Trade: A Just World Start with You.”
  • He has interned for the World Fair Trade Organization and travelled to Milan, Italy to work at their biennial conference.
  • He has travelled to India to see firsthand the workings of fair trade.
  • He is in the beginning stages of launching a Fair Trade Candy Company through the entrepreneurship program, VentureWorks, on campus.

Judging will be undertaken by an independent panel. The winner will receive tablet computer, a certificate and a featured story on the website of Fairtrade International, a group of 29 organizations working to secure a better deal for producers.

He also has been selected to attend this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) meeting next spring, at which attendees present projects to address global challenges. He also was a member of the VentureWorks Geneseo team that was a semi-finalist at the New York State Business Plan Competition last year. Conard will be traveling to Chiapas, Mexico, in March of 2016 on an educational tour to visit fair trade producer groups and learn about the effects of globalization on indigenous peoples.

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