Bentley Alumni Committed to Fair-Trade Careers
Allyson Myers ’93, director of marketing and customer experience at Lake Champlain Chocolates, has been with the company since she graduated from Bentley. In the late 1990s, she led the effort to secure fair trade certification for the company’s first group of products, a line of hot chocolate mixes.
“It’s been so rewarding for me to see the momentum the fair-trade movement has made over the last 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 taken on. I visited a school and a community center that hosted a technology room and witnessed the benefit of clean drinking water sources.”
As Del’s Coffee Roasters founder Paul Delmonico ’92 offered coffee samples to fair attendees, he shared the history behind his business model.
“I originally started the company in 2020 because of my love for specialty coffee and passion for home roasting unique coffee beans from around the world,” he says. “When the business grew to the point that I was roasting full time at my facility in Waltham, I recognized the importance of making sure that the beans I roasted came from certified fair trade and organic farms.”
Many of the farms and communities that grow specialty coffee throughout the world, he says, rely on hardworking individuals to hand pick, sort and process the coffee. “This work is physically taxing and labor intensive, but the fair-trade certification means that these individuals have their basic needs covered, ensuring and supporting an existence worthy of human dignity.”
Jonathan White, BSLCE director and associate professor of sociology, says that approximately 10% of people in the world, 770 million people, live on less than $1.90 a day. “People are living in desperate poverty and their life expectancy is lowered, with many dying of hunger and hunger-related diseases. So, when we are speaking about a company making the decision to fairly pay its employees, we are indicating that it is both life-changing now and maybe even offers hope to the next generation.”