Jo Fairley co-founded Green & Black's chocolate with her entrepreneur husband Craig Sams. Their Maya Gold bar was the first Fairtrade-marked product to be launched. The tale of Green & Black's has now become a blueprint for sustainable business everywhere, studied in business schools and featured in countless newspaper stories, from Newsweek to the UK's The Daily Telegraph.
Jo left school at 16 and after finding her niche in journalism quickly progressed in her career, becoming the youngest ever magazine editor.
The story of Green & Black's began in 1991, when Jo discovered two delicious remaining squares from a prototype bar of the world's first organic chocolate - on the desk of her soon-to-be husband. Jo became a trailblazer, embracing the social responsibility of food producers, and it wasn't long before the Green & Black's brand was receiving awards, and transforming the fortunes of the Maya Indians who grow the cocoa beans. The Green & Black's name was chosen to represent their environmental ethos (green) and the high-quality cocoa beans used (black).
Jo is an inspiring speaker whose presentations demonstrate how determination and a willingness to take risks helped her build a successful business and exploit a niche market. She explains how a business that does good, can also be good business and covers the art of branding, how a business can be both ethical and profitable and why the intelligence of the consumer should never be underestimated.
Her own journalistic and PR skills helped build Green & Black's brand without her needing to spend a single penny on advertising until the brand was eight years old and well established.
Jo Fairley is also the author of more than a dozen books, including the Beauty Bible series. She has also been Contributing Editor to the Mail on Sunday's YOU Magazine, writing about beauty and organic living. She contributes to a very wide range of publication including Tatler, Elle and Here's Health and has her own fragrance blog www.thescentcritic.com.
She is chair of a Soil Association committee and she runs an organic bakery and a health centre. Jo lives in East Sussex with her husband.
"Jo Fairley provided a very well-received concluding address to our conference. The speech was both informative and entertaining, and our delegates particularly valued the way she related her own business success to the challenges affecting their own businesses. Jo was a great pleasure to work with; she took time and care to understand her audience, and made some helpful contributions to our planning process. Jo is an inspiring person, a warm character and a persuasive speaker, and I would highly recommend her."