Jennie Coleman is President of Equifruit, a Montreal-based importer and marketer of organic and conventional Fairtrade bananas. OPN recently caught up with Jennie to learn about her background, Equifruit’s mission, the company’s relationships with growers, and more.
Jennie Coleman, President, Equifruit
What is your background, and what led you to Equifruit?
I have an unconventional background. I have two master’s degrees, one in German and the other in library science—and I’m pretty sure I’m the only librarian I’ve ever met in the produce industry. But life is bigger than our youthful educational choices, and curiosity is a powerful professional pathfinder, so before coming to Equifruit, I had had an international career in Namibia, Switzerland, Germany, and China, primarily in business strategy and market analysis.
I came to Equifruit through acquiring the company. At the time, I was looking for something that I could balance with my family commitments, and I’d had a long-time hankering to own my own business. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, and the first couple of years were tough, but it took me into my forties to figure out what I really loved doing, and now I’m hooked on achieving Equifruit’s mission!
What is Equifruit’s mission?
Equifruit has set out to achieve “Global Fairtrade Banana Domination.” We say this a little tongue in cheek—but we’re serious about wanting to change the way we think about bananas, from just a low-price staple to one with a more fair distribution of value along the supply chain. We see Fairtrade as the best framework in which to make our favorite fruit more sustainable—economically, socially, and environmentally.