Outstanding Social Entrepreneur (World Economic Forum), Safia Minney MBE, FRSA is the founder and director of People Tree, the pioneering Fair Trade and sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand. She is well-placed to discuss the reality of social injustice and environmental devastation, and to share her passion for social change with companies looking to tap into the ‘ethical space’ of consumerism in order to build a brand that is both sustainable and profitable. She is currently MD of the award-winning sustainable footwear brand Po-Zu.
Visionary, innovative and playful, Safia Minney MBE, FRSA is a powerful voice for sustainable fashion retail as the Founder and Director of People Tree, the first international fashion company to be certified 100% Fair Trade by the WFTO. She is currently MD of the award-winning sustainable footwear brand Po-Zu.
An effective thought leader for social justice and environmental impact, she strives to create happiness, security, profitability and independence for her fair trade suppliers - over 5000 economically marginalised farmers, artisans and tailors.
On the speaking circuit, Safia shares her passion for social change with companies looking to tap into the ‘ethical space’ of consumerism in order to build a brand that is both sustainable and profitable.
Recognized by the World Economic Forum as an Outstanding Social Entrepreneur (2005), audiences are enthralled by Safia's authenticity and unique practical experience.
Safia discusses using design and business as an agent for change, having leveraged her background in marketing and publishing to create a company that blends social change with great product and retail; People Tree now serves as an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of customers and suppliers and sets a new bar for end-to-end Fair Trade and Organic fashion production.
Some of her other speaking topics include: partnering, innovating and capacity-building with suppliers; building an operational plan that incorporates social and environmental best practice into conventional business models; and communicating best practice to customers and stakeholders to promote engagement and new environmental and social initiatives.
She also takes a look at the global ‘ethical consumer’ movement, the rise of the eco-lifestyle store, social enterprise and sustainable design and campaigning for social change.
As well as initiating World Fair Trade Day and Rag Rage, she is a Founder member of Ethical Fashion Forum, Fashion Revolution and Strawberry Earth Academy promoting Eco Design.
After working for Creative Review magazine in London, Safia’s travels in Asia brought the reality of social injustice and environmental devastation to the front of her mind. In 1989, she moved from London to Tokyo where she turned her interest into a campaigning organization, Global Village, out of which People Tree Japan was launched. After People Tree became the highest profile Fair Trade company in Japan, with over 1,500 stockists and three flagship stores, Safia launched People Tree in London in 2000; today the company sells throughout Europe in over 200 stores.
After a long and successful career as People Tree's CEO, Creative Director, and Head of Fair Trade supply chain development, leading its promotion through marketing and PR in Europe and Japan, Safia has taken a step away from operations to focus on promoting the ethical fashion cause beyond the business.
She shares her knowledge and experience with others who want to put social impact and sustainability at the heart of their commercial or social business. Safia and her team have been responsible for the first Fair Trade designer collaboration with Vogue magazine, featuring high profile international designers and celebrities in 2007. She has worked closely with Emma Watson to design the first ever Fair Trade fashion range for young people. Other collaborations with internationally acclaimed designers such as Orla Keily, Zandra Rhodes, Bora Aksu, have brought Fair Trade into luxury fashion.
Safia has authored 8 acclaimed books, including ‘Slow Fashion - Aesthetics meets Ethics’, and most recently ‘Slave to Fashion’ raising awareness of modern slavery in the fashion industry, bringing her expertise and experience to help businesses embrace sustainability and transparency in their operations and branding.
In 2015, the True Cost movie was released and featured Safia as a leading spokesperson of the fashion industry and her pioneering work in delivering social change.
She has received numerous accolades for her work, including Top 5 Ethical Retailers in the UK as voted by Ethical Consumer (2014), Best Organic Textile Product at the Natural and Organic Products Europe Awards (2013) and an MBE for services to the Fashion industry and Fair Trade (2009).
Her speaking topics include:
- Modern Slavery: The Modern Slavery Act, The Global Economy, Social & Technical Innovation.
- Supply Chain Management & Transparency: Partnering, innovating and capacity building with suppliers to create social impact and environmental best practice to comply with ethical standards. How to communicate to your customers and stakeholders to build sales and brand loyalty.
- Creating Sustainable Business Models: Building an operational plan and design to incorporate social and environmental best practice into conventional business models, products, services and marketing communications.
- Social Marketing, Media and Brand Building: Communicating best practice to customers and stakeholders to promote engagement and new environmental and social initiatives. How to create initiatives to deliver and show commitment to social value with examples of successful initiatives in Europe, Japan and Asia.
-Creating Fair Trade and Social Impact: Using design and business as an agent for change; what social impact can be expected and how do you measure purpose beyond profit.
- Women in Business: Building a pioneering social business and brand in Japan and Europe whilst juggling a family. Overcoming challenges through partnerships and collaborations and making bringing leadership and income opportunities to women around the world to create social change.
- Slow Fashion. Aesthetics meets Ethics: A look at the global ‘ethical consumer’ movement, the rise of the eco lifestyle store, social enterprise and sustainable design and campaigning for social change.