Harriet Lamb is a leading campaigner for fair trade and the Chief Executive Officer of the global standards, certification and producer development organisation, Fairtrade International, a role she took on in September 2012. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of the United Kingdom Fairtrade Foundation from 2001-2012. She was born in England, lived in India as a child and then grew up and was educated in the UK, taking a first degree in political science at Cambridge University and an MPhil at the Sussex Institute of Development Studies.
She joined the Fairtrade Foundation after two years with Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), the Fairtrade umbrella body with responsibility for Fairtrade standards globally, in Bonn, Germany. Under her leadership, Fairtrade has become one of Britain's most active grassroots social movements. In 2008, sales of Fairtrade topped £700 million, with over 4,500 Fairtrade products available from cotton to coffee, face-cream to ice-cream.
She had become convinced of the importance of Fairtrade while Head of Campaigns at the World Development Movement (WDM). While visiting Costa Rica with WDM in 1997 to investigate local banana plantations' use of the pesticide dibromochloropropane (DBCP), already banned in the US for making farm-workers sterile, she met a woman called Maria whose husband had been exposed to DBCP while working on the plantations. The couple had had a baby boy born with severe developmental abnormalities who died after a short and distressful life.
In her book "Fighting The Banana Wars", Harriet Lamb describes how "As we sat there and she showed me pictures of her baby rage bubbled up inside me because the companies knew of the dangers of this chemical but they ignored them. I have never, ever forgotten Maria."
Previous campaigning activities include the UK Minimum Wage Campaign at the Low Pay Unit and for refugee rights. She has lived and travelled widely in the developing world. She was awarded a CBE in the 2006 UK New Year's Honours List for her contribution to Fairtrade. Other accolades include Cosmopolitan Eco-Queen 2008 and Orange Businesswoman of the Year 2008.
A keen cyclist, she lives in South London with her partner and two children.
Harriet Lamb is the author of Fighting The Banana Wars and other Fairtrade Battles, pub. 2008 by Rider Books, ISBN 978-1-84604-083-2
On Friday 14 January 2011, Harriet appeared for the first time on BBC Radio 4 programme Any Questions, alongside Tim Montgomerie, Emily Thornberry MP and Sarah Teather MP.
- p. i, "Fighting The Banana Wars and other Fairtrade Battles", Harriet Lamb, ISBN 978-1-84604-083-2
- pp. 6-7, "Fighting The Banana Wars and other Fairtrade Battles", Harriet Lamb, ISBN 978-1-84604-083-2
- "Fighting The Banana Wars and other Fairtrade Battles", Harriet Lamb, pub. Rider Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84604-083-2
- "On the road with the queen of fairtrade", The Independent, 28.2.2009