One of the UK’s leading motivational speakers Jo tells the hugely inspirational story of the global ethical brand Green & Black’s, the business she created with her husband from scratch. She shares her business insights with audiences across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and USA and is often able to supply chocolate for guests and delegates.
As Jo explains: ‘I like to work closely with speaking clients to deliver the message which will most resonate with their audience, focusing on the lessons from the Green & Black’s journey which are most appropriate for any specific event – from an entrepreneurial slant, as a woman in business to an ethical and environmental angle, CSR, branding – or simply the extraordinary rollercoaster journey of Green & Black’s from a Portobello Road bedroom to a global ethical brand. When I was building Green & Black's, I never regretted taking time out to hear an inspirational speaker – and I truly love being able to do that for others, now.'
"Jo Spoke recently at our Annual Travel Conference, held in Dubai 23-25 May 2016. Jo is a remarkable woman, with great passion for her product and business ethics.... And as a business we felt she was a perfect match for speaking to our audience of 300. It was a great pleasure to meet her and work closely together – and we would not hesitate to recommend her to speak at your event."
The Global Travel Group Ltd
To book Jo Fairley for your next event, contact us today
After Dinner Speaker, Authors, Branding, Business Speaker, Customer Service, Entrepreneurs, Food & Drink, Health & Wellbeing, Journalists, Lifestyle, Motivational & Inspirational, PR & Marketing, Retail & Manufacturing
Read more about Jo Fairley
Leaving school at 16 Jo Fairley went on to become the UK’s youngest-ever magazine editor editing first 'Look Now' and then 'Honey Magazine'. She then became of the Mail on Sunday’s 'YOU' Magazine, as well as contributing to a very wide range of publications including the new 'National Geographic Green'.
She then stepped out on her entrepreneurial journey in 1991 when she co-founded Green & Black’s Chocolate, which is now close to an £100 million a year brand.
Jo’s presentations deliver a real insight into how to create, launch and grow a brand. Green & Black’s was started with just £20,000 of her savings, and grew into a brand worth $100 million worldwide in less than 20 years. Despite its widespread global availability, Green & Black’s has retained its luxury cachet: it was the only food brand to be featured in the UK’s CoolBrands Top 20.
From its inception, Green & Black’s has also been an ethical brand, sourcing cocoa direct from Third World farmers who are paid a fair price. Green & Black’s was the first brand to be awarded the UK Fairtrade Mark with Maya Gold (in 1994), and in 2011 announced that by the end of 2011, all the many bars and products in its chocolate portfolio will carry this certification.
Ever at the forefront, Jo was among the first to highlight the social responsibility of food producers and Green & Black's immediately picked up awards for its entrepreneurial and ethical achievements. It is because of the company’s ethical treatment of its producers that the fortunes of the Maya Indians in Belize, who grow the cocoa, have been transformed.
Jo is happy to talk about these PR moments, and how when 20,000 young people carrying flaming torches lobbied supermarkets to stock Maya Gold it generated a lot of valuable news coverage, but they also had plenty of white knuckle moments. What happens when cocoa beans are stuck in a volatile tropical country, the port blockaded, and your major retailer is threatening de-listing unless the consignment is delivered on time? Jo's presentations also highlight the determination needed and the risks involved in building a business and exploiting a niche market. She also demonstrates the power of branding, how business can be both ethical and highly successful, and why you should never underestimate the intelligence of the consumer.
In 2005, the brand was successfully sold to Cadbury’s but Jo Fairley remains in an ambassadorial role, travelling the world as the brand grows internationally in countries including the US and Australia. It's also a business with corporate social responsibility in its DNA: Green & Black's was the world's first organic chocolate, and 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': a true, modern-day business adventure. Jo she has an exceptional understanding of brand creation and development and talent for sharing that experience and insightful knowledge.
The success of Green & Black's has enabled Jo to become a serial entrepreneur, via an award-winning organic and natural food store/bakery (Judges Bakery), The Wellington Centre (a boutique nine-room wellbeing centre) – both in her home town of Hastings – and most recently The Perfume Society, which sets out to help individuals develop their sense of smell via exploration of fragrance and the scented world.
In recognition of her work, Jo has received many awards for her own enterprise, including WorldAware Award and many Soil Association Awards (both for Green & Black’s and Judges Bakery). She has also received an Honorary Doctorate in Business Studies from Kingston University, and The Shackleton Medal for leadership and citizenship, from The Scottish Royal Geographical Society.
Jo has been involved in the judging of many different awards, bringing her wide experience to the judging process, including the RSPCA Good Business Awards, YOU/Clarins Dynamisante Woman of the Year Awards and the HSBC Business Thinking Awards.
With her background as a female entrepreneur and creator of Green & Black’s, Jo’s presentations deliver a real insight into how to create, launch and grow a brand. Green & Black’s was started with just £20,000 of her savings, and grew into a brand worth £100 million worldwide in less than 20 years. Despite its widespread global availability, Green & Black’s has retained its luxury cachet: it is the only food brand to be featured in the UK’s CoolBrands Top 20.
From its inception, Green & Black’s has also been an ethical brand, sourcing cocoa direct from Third World farmers who are paid a fair price. Green & Black’s was the first brand to be awarded the UK Fairtrade Mark with Maya Gold (in 1994), and in 2011 announced that by the end of 2011, all the many bars and products in its chocolate portfolio will carry this certification. Jo’s presentations can address how ethical issues are becoming more important to consumers (over £500 million worth of Fairtrade goods will be sold in the UK per year alone) and how working for a company with a strong CSR programme can boost team spirit and dedication. She talks about the many lessons learned along the path to business success, including the emotional aspect of building a brand and then ‘letting go’, when it’s sold on, as well as the importance of design, branding, PR and marketing. (Jo remains an ambassador for Green & Black’s.)