Elaine Jones: Tribute and Celebration (1957–2022)
Elaine passed away on 21st March 2022 with her partner and family close. In the words of friends and co-workers across our networks: Elaine was colleague, comrade, partner, inspiration, mentor, jiminy cricket conscience, teacher and much appreciated friend. She was always great pleasure/fun to work, travel and BE with. All who knew her feel: this was too fast, too soon, so sad, shocking and such a loss in all our lives.
I worked with Elaine for decades. Stepping back now I must, however, it's really astonishing to consider the range and subject matter, and territory (in all senses) that Elaine covered over the years. The who's who of organisations for whom she worked and whose causes were advanced by her contributions is extraordinary. To name a few: WIEGO, ETI, #WFTO, #TWIN and #Twin Trading, #RSTC The Rwenzori Sustainable Trade Centre, #Comic Relief, #Verité, #WISE, #The Body Shop and most recently, #Brighton & Hove Fair Trade Group, and #TheAlternativeCoffeeCo.
What's clear is that Elaine was long immersed in the most vital subjects of our days - and the days ahead: alternative forms of organising, economic empowerment of women; fair trade, democracy, cooperative values and constitutions, grassroots activism, workers voice and rights, ways to support refugees into business and how to build bottom-up inclusion in complex international supply chains. Elaine brought humane, deep, critical, crucial and rational insights into everything she did. Elaine was fervently calm! She was modest, nervous at times about her work, doubting she’d captured everything that needed to be said, or if she had documented enough. She often fretted up to the last minute available… Yet, her contributions to and impacts on movements, enterprises and organisations were multi-level and multi-directional: directly by and within her own work and roles, and indirectly through her much valued and essential support for all of us.
It’s hard not to conclude that her life -and work -is heroic, but unsung because she remained so quiet, modest and unacknowledged. That’s a hard thing to ‘undo’ but in these pages we are proud to post many examples of her ideas and her work, and amusing and special memories of travel and shared experiences. There’s no rush, no deadline: We will continue to post and all who knew her should feel free to come forward with theirs, please. Here on the Inspiring People pages of the Journal of Fair Trade website, Elaine now sits alongside other lost colleagues who have passionately and patiently led, shaped, built and fought for (and with) our movement for fairer trade for so many years.
All of that said, however, I want to close this tribute and dedication by repeating what I said when breaking the news to the young and new team of The Alternative Coffee Company that Elaine and I were fostering. This initiative is an effort to build a new type of direct fair and green trade relationship between independent cafes, roasters and specialty coffee coops in Rwanda and Uganda and Elaine was thrilled and excited by the potential of it. “I am certain Elaine would want us to fight for great things and not mourn”.
Farewell my dear friend and comrade. Pauline Tiffen
I wanted to say that one of the things I really remember and appreciate Elaine for was how incredibly calm, calming and rational she was and how her ethics and kindness were always clear in an unshowy, earthy way. Very sad to hear she has died. Deborah Smith, Mind your wildlife manors
How terribly sad and what a loss - Elaine was such a sensible, balanced, determined colleague and a warm welcoming friend. I feel lucky to have known her and will for a while tiptoe around the hole she has left. My thoughts and prayers for strength to her family and those closer than I. Sue Enfield
Really sad news indeed. Our joint trip to Uganda is up there as one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. She was so much fun to be around, very loving. So full of life and interesting stories. To be missed but also remembered with all the warmth of an Ugandan sunset in Easter. Susanna Garcia Cervero, Senior Manager KPMG
Oh dear how sad. I spent many hours travelling with her from Brighton to Littlehampton when she first started working for the Body Shop. I learned so much from her. I wish everyone nothing by happy memories of her. Daniel Bernstein . CEO at Emergency Exit Arts.
I was sorry to hear of Elaine’s passing. Wonderful inspirational lady who leaves a lasting legacy and impact on many people, our thinking on global ethical trade and current practices, as well as the communities her work touched. Deepest Condolences to her family. Louise Nicholls, Suseco Consulting, Chair of IEMA, CISL Totuor
Very sad news indeed. Elaine was a lovely lady, she always made me laugh and I have fond memories of working with her. Luca Pnzetta, Learning Governance Manager at UC
Gorgeous picture. Elaine was a dear friend, my jiminy cricket conscience and a generous, passionate person who enriched our lives. There was so much that she had to give. Patrick Ballin
So sad to hear – our deepest sympathy to her family. Gabriel Kamudu, MD Gavik Co
Oh, so very sorry to hear this. My conolences. A sad loss. Clare Lissaman , Head of Oxfam Advisory Services.
My condolences. May her soul Rest in Peace. Subodh Suman, Deputy Manager B-SFAC. So sorry to hear this. Federica Busiello, Kore Global
In 1994 amid challenges for The Body Shop ‘Trade not Aid’ program Jacqui MacDonald was recruited to work in Anita Roddick's ‘Values and Vision’ department The aim was to move the program to be more sustainable. Four new Ethical Trade Managers were brought in to work in the new team: Elaine Jones, Andrew Jones ( no relation!), Christine Gent and Deborah Smith, and the Body Shop Community Trade program was born including sourcing guidelines. This was the new beginning of a program which is still going strong. From handcrafted shea butter in Ghana to recycled paper gift bags from Nepal, The Body Shop still source ingredients and accessories from across the planet, which provides vital financial independence for these Fair Trade suppliers. Elaine Jones was the driving force behind the South American sourcing, negotiating Brazil nuts in the Amazon, wash mitts in Mexico and Babassu from the plains of Brazil. It was learning by doing and the expertise was translated into work all over the world. Dedicated by Christine Gent
This is very, very sad news. Elaine was my mentor when, long ago, I made the move out of commercial roles. A wonderful, warm-hearted leader in our field and so ahead of her time, I have very fond memories of time spent travelling with her in Body Shop Days in Brazil and Zambia. Such sad news but many, many people in the world are better off as a result of the work Elaine has done. A great loss. Graham Clewer, Group Head of Human Rights at ABF
I worked with Elaine at The Body Shop in 2000, while working at Anti-Slavery International on working conditions in cocoa, and then at the Ethical Trading Initiative in the early 2000s producing guidance for business on working fairly with homeworkers and smallholder farmers/workers. I also knew her and her family as friends too once I moved to Brighton and we continued to work in the same field. I learned a great deal from her, and shared wanting to take lessons from fairer trade with small producers into market access and into more ‘mainstream’ ethical trade. I had particular admiration for her highly astute power analysis, her direct approach to some of the patronising behaviour that especially women encounter, and her ability to channel the reality of producers’ lives, both women and men. I shall miss her, and can picture her continuing to globalise and organise from above! Dedicated by Pins Brown
I remember Elaine as a great source of support, insight and fun during our time together at The Body Shop at the turn of the millennium (1998-2003). We visited a number of Community Trade suppliers together in Nepal and India, as well as attending Head Franchisee conferences, and she was always a great supporter of our human rights and environmental campaigns. Elaine always knew exactly why it mattered. John Morrison, CEO, Institute for Human Rights and Business
Elaine was an incredible influence on the advancement of fair and ethical trade, and font of knowledge on how these evolved. We co-authored a chapter "Fair Trade in the Global North. Northern Social Movements and Fair Trade" within
Fair Trade, The challenges of transforming globalization, Routledge, 2007.
which bought some of that knowledge together. She was also the Chair of the ETI impact assessment I undertook with Sally Smith in 2006. Elaine was critical in navigating the process between ETI members, and a stern 'task master', but the report we delivered informed ETI of its impact for workers. She will be greatly missed by family, friends and the movement at large.
Stephanie Barrientos, Emeritus Professor, The Global Development Institute, The University of Manchester
The first time I met Elaine was when she was Chair of the ETI board, nearly 20 years ago. I was so impressed by her calm and intelligent approach to managing those board meetings and the way she was able to navigate through all the different interests that were around the table. I was lucky enough to work with her on various things after that, related to her extensive work and leadership roles in fair and ethical trade (ETI, TWIN, WFTO, Comic Relief) and women’s empowerment (WIEGO, WISE Development). She was a person of great integrity and compassion, and her warmth and humour made her a pleasure to be around. One of the last things we worked on together was a market systems development project in northern Ghana, where Elaine designed a participatory training programme to increase farm productivity through addressing deeply entrenched gender inequalities. By Elaine’s standards, this was a minor piece of work, but it served to remind me yet again of her talent for filtering out the noise and focusing on what matters, and for bringing everyone along with her. She will be sorely missed by her many colleagues and friends around the world.
Dedicated by Sally Smith , Researcher and Consultant Inclusive Sustainable Development
Very sorry to hear this. As well as her social justice work, she was just a great person to be with. The picture captures her well. Graham Young, Traidcraft/Traidcraft Exchange
This is shocking news. My heart goes out to her family and friends. May her soul rest in peace. Maveen Pereira Director of Programmes at Traidcraft Exchange
Elaine was an integral member of the Fair Trade Steering group: Brighton & Hove. Elaine enriched the group with her wealth of international experience and was chair of the group from July 2021 to her passing. Elaine was the driving force behind the new initiative to deliver Fair Trade coffee to the cafes of the city. Her involvement in, and passion for, promoting Fair Trade in Brighton and Hove was truly admirable. Elaine will be sorely missed by the group.
Dedicated by Fair Trade Brighton and Hove; Peter Freeman (Treasurer), Cllr Carmen Appich, Christine Gent, Jill Stevens, Cllr Martin Osborne, Jack Hosgood (Secretary), Louise Mabbs.
Elaine Jones is well remembered by WFTO members for her work on the WEIGO project. This project focussed particularly on women's empowerment through democratic organisation. She was at the Mombasa WFTO Conference in 2011 where many of us met and interacted with her. She attended further conferences in Milan and Rio. An associate member of WFTO, Elaine recently joined the Guarantee System Appeals Committee. Her work and contribution to the Fair Trade movement will be missed. Roopa Mehta, President of the World Fair Trade Organization
My condolences to her partner and family. Luis Heller, WFTO Board Director
Sorry to learn of Elaine's demise, my prayers and deep condolences to the family for the loss! She has her foot prints all over working for and in support of the vulnerable in the society all through the Fair Trade communities and enterprises! Fare thee well Elaine RIP! Fred Masinde Undugu Fair Trade
My deepest condolences to her family and everyone who knew her. Sabeena Z Ahmed, Lilfairtrade Shop,
Fair Trade Ambassador and Individual Associate Member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)
Shocked to hear of Elaine’s passing. She was an amazing contributor to Comic Relief’s thinking and strategic direction in our work on enterprise and trade related funding and a joyous person to work with. I’m really heartbroken by this news. Richard Graham, Director Barnardo’s Foundation
When I first met Elaine I was impressed by her intelligence and warmth and over the years of working with her at The Body Shop, TWIN, Divine Chocolate, the ETI, The Coop College, WEIGO and the WFTO she constantly demonstrated her integrity and focus on both the mission and the people she was with. Elaine had a wonderful sense of humor and her sparkling eyes were ever present. Jacqui Mac Donald
Thanks for this tribute to Elaine. She was such a a thoughtful and warm person. I'm so sorry to hear about her death and send condolences to her family and friends. Mary Myaya (Comic Relief Assessor)
I am so sorry to hear this. Such a lovely tribute. I learnt much from Elaine whilst at Comic Relief. Sending all good thoughts to her family and friends. Georgina Awoonor-Gordon
I'm incredibly sad and shocked to hear this news. Elaine was a force of nature and one of the most knowledgeable, thoughtful and entertaining people I've ever met. I will always remember and treasure a trip to Ethiopia we took together for Comic Relief and visiting her in Brighton. My thoughts and love are with all her friends and family. Sian Herschel
Thank you for your beautiful words Pauline and for setting up the tribute page which I hope will be some comfort for her family. It's a fantastic way to remember and celebrate Elaine. I was lucky enough to work with her for several years at Comic Relief and to be a fellow trainer with her at the ETI. She found possibilities in every grant application we dealt with and always looked for the best in people. She taught me a great deal and my abiding memories of her will be her humour, strength and patience. Louise Herring
When I joined Comic Relief in 2013 Elaine was one the Trade, Enterprise and Employment assessors, and over the next three years we spent many weeks travelling together assessing potential funding projects in Zambia, Tanzania, Zanzibar and northern Uganda – and for those who were aware of Elaine’s ‘love’ of flying, the missionary flight back from Gulu was a somewhat interesting experience! 100% professional, considerate and fair in her approach to her work – she never waivered in her convictions and commitment to promote what she believed was right in order to ensure the populations impacted were being fairly represented and included, in particular women. She was also excellent company and great fun to spend time with and over the years she became not only a friend but, probably unbeknownst to her, something of a mentor to me. In my current role at the Vitol Foudnation I have been privileged to be able to continue to fund the work that Elaine and Pauline initiated and have continued to support with the Rwenzori Sustainable Trade Centre in western Uganda which, to date, has proved transformative to the communities that they serve.
Fiercely proud of her family and all their achievements, she was beyond delighted to become a grandmother and I know she was loving living in Worthing. Mella, Hannah and Alexa – my heart goes out to you all having to experience such an unexpected and untimely loss, but please take comfort in knowing that Elaine impacted and touched the lives of so many people, many beyond our understanding, and you should be so proud of everything that she stood for and achieved, and the world is a poorer place without her. She will be greatly missed.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all and I will light a candle in her memory. Sending love,
Jane Kelly, vitol
Twin and Twin Trading
Such sad news. Thank you Pauline for sharing and setting up a dedicated space. Elaine was an important source of wisdom and reassurance to me in my time at Twin, and it was clear whenever I travelled that she was loved and respected by all those she worked with. My condolences to the family and friends she leaves behind. Hannah Davis
So sad to hear this news, sending very best wishes to Elaine's family and friends. Lucy Brill, Homeworkers Worldwide, Supporting precarious women workers in their struggle for rights and livelihoods
So very sorry to read this. Elaine has played such an influential role in fair and ethical trade, over many years. Thinking of her, and her family. Mike Gidney, Fairtrade Foundation
So sad to hear this news, sending very best wishes to Elaine's family and friends. Lucy Brill, Homeworkers Worldwide, Supporting precarious women workers in their struggle for rights and livelihoods
This is the saddest news. I first met and worked with Elaine back in 2006 at the Commonwealth. I learned so much from her over the years, and I can't imagine what it would have been like working on women and the economy if I hadn't had her take and positioning on such important issues at those stages of my career. We last worked together on the MADE programme for DAI, and it was a blessing to work alongside her once more. Truly shattered by this news. Please pass-on my deepest condolences to her family, and let us know if there any tributes being planned that we can contribute to in some way. She will be so deeply missed Fatimah Kelleher
Elaine had such a lovely, kind and knowledgeable presence at the WISE meetings. My sincerest condolences to her family. May their memories of her sustain them in these days and the days to come. Seema Khan
I was so upset when I heard - I didn't know her well at all but she did some very intense work with me or a few months with Pauline when I was working for the Global Trade Programme and I thought she was such a lovely person.Henrietta Miers
Elaine was such a pleasure to work with, and she contributed so much to WISE as it evolved and transitioned to DAI. I had only written to her a week or so ago! Please do pass on my condolences and warm regards to her family if you attend the funeral. She'll be greatly missed by all. Amy Wilson-Lee
I didn’t know her well, but I do remember chatting with her at those later meeting of WISE that I joined, and she was full of ideas and had such commitment. I’m sure you’ll give our regards to her family.Caroline Pinder
While I had met Elaine many years before, I got to know her well when Sally Smith re-introduced me to her in 2014. We were expanding a small consultancy company called WISE Development, focusing on gender equality and social inclusion in development programming. The company was originally set up by Caroline Pinder, and in 2014 I became a director and expanded the company into a social enterprise, which eventually became partially owned by the consultants who worked with us. Elaine worked with us on several really challenging assignments, including on DFID programmes where there was often very little interest in gender equality.
We gradually set up a technical board called the WISE Advisory Group (WAG) and Elaine agreed to be a member of the small group. I was so honoured that Elaine would consider working with us in that way as she had such amazing experience, especially with collective action, which we were trying to emulate in the consultancy world! Also in the group were Seema Khan, Amy Wilson-Lee and Fatimah Kelleher. I have lovely memories of Elaine’s smiling face as she suggested new ideas and challenged my, often naïve, judgements! Her manner was loving and kind and we laughed a lot with our work.
One of Elaine’s quotes that I remember so vividly, and I frequently repeat it to myself, was in relation to DFID programmes in Nigeria and Ghana that were using the “making markets work for the poor” (M4P) ideology. Elaine was working with Fatimah Kelleher. The classic approach with M4P projects was to sell to small farms packets of commercial fertiliser, pesticide and herbicide in sizes that they could afford. Many of these farms would not have used these products before and would normally be using local and sustainable methods. Elaine was pretty outraged, and said: “These projects are just peddling poison”. She explained her experience of seeing the commercial products like these devastate the fertility and health of soils in other countries. Her words have always stuck with me and given me confidence to speak out against this kind of practice.
Elaine also taught me so much about the practicalities of gender equality and the importance of just talking with women. We worked with Sally on a piece of research about social and environmental certification. Elaine and Pauline had just finished researching in Turkey and had found that women don’t disclose issues around sexual harassment when the social audit people drop by with their box ticking. So an important aspect of women’s rights was just being totally missed. This really influenced our research, and I still refer to it as an example.
Dearest Elaine, thank you for your kindness and being there for our small group of gender consultants trying to do something different. Thank you for your non-judgemental attitude and your willingness to be there with us. Wishing you a peaceful journey.
With much love Georgia
Trading Our Way Up: Women Organizing for Fair Trade, Elaine Jones, Sally Smith, Carol Wills, 2011
This study was one of the most comprehensive of its type, exploring alternative forms of organising for economic empowerment used by women in seven countries on three continents. The practical lessons in how to do this work effectively are as relevant today as they were when it was published ten years ago.
Dedicated by Mike Bird, Operations Director at Wiego , Empowering Informal Workers, Securing Informal Livelihoods
May her pure and caring soul find perfect peace in heaven 🙏 Ritah Muthahi
It is terribly sad news for the acquaintances and the whole RSTC and Fairtrade fraternity. We shall particularly miss her massive contributions, activiveness, and smiles with the Rwenzoris. May the Almighty God rest her soul in eternal peace. Rodgers Mutyebere
Dear Comrades, I have learnt with grief that our dear partner in development and in the life of RSTC and the Rwenzori Sustainable Trade project and mentor to me Ms Elaine Jones passed on. MHSRIP. Every time we met her I never was left the same. She was a very passionate lady and very aggressive in seeing the women get out of poverty. And, indeed we who still live to interact today with the same women in these communities have seen the journey travelled and the changes in their lives. I recently interacted with the Kihungu ladies in town. They felt sorry that such an asset had been deleted in the life of their budget hence leaving the budget unbalanced. We both continue to pray that Good gives her Eternal rest and that RSTC can get the rightful replacement as it did for some of us and The late Galant and Patriotic leader in the coffee and cotton sector Mr Abaine.
Take Heart my dear colleagues for this is always our destiny that is always hard to accept. Thank you for the services you have continued to give to the Rwenzori region. I miss your beautiful team. Stay Blessed, meet some time when God still lets us live. Magambo Serapio
An inspiration, a great lady she was. Rest well Friend. Anne Kabahuma Kalinzi
So sad. Rest well Elaine.Brian Nimwesiga , Programme Team Leader at Fairtrade Africa.
It is with deep grief for the passing of my Mentor. We will live to remember her good deeds. Enosi Muthahinga Manager at Kabonero Mountain Coffee
So sorry. I was devastated to hear of Elaine’s passing on. A kind soul she was passionate about ethical trade and gender issues. I learnt a lot from Her as a mentor and her work lives on back here Uganda. Lazarous Bwambale, RSTC Trade Officer, SME Consultant
Oh this is so sad to hear. I met Elaine numerous times to work on Rwenzori Sustainable Trade Centre projects and her gentle passion, dedication and enthusiasm for the work was inspiring. She will be such a big loss to all of us. Sincere condolences to her partner, family and all who knew her. Vikki Brennan Business and Human Rights Expert | NED
Thank you for sharing, A lovely tribute to an inspirational person and leader of Fair Trade. I was lucky to have met Elaine through the ETI and work with the Rwenzori project. Deepest sympathies to all that knew her ❤ Feena Kirrkhamm, CSR and Sustainability Executive at Business in the Community Ireland
My sincere condolences Pauline, may Elaine's Soul RIP 🙏 Richard Otim, Friends Consult
"To be one - we need oneness" Elaine wrote back in June 2006, which was a precursor to Elaine and Pauline Tiffen working intensely with Kuapa Kokoo over the next 4 years. On reflection it was the beginning of the period when Kuapa was most functional which was partly down to the work Elaine did on training the farmers on Co-operative principles and values particularly in the run up to that [critical] election which she ensured was free and fair partly by making sure that all candidates could participate in hustings. It was definitely the most contested election that delivered a useful productive Executive and a dedicated President in Mr Buah."
Dedicated by Sophi Tranchell MBE, former CEO of Divine Chocolate.
Select publications by Elaine Jones:
—The Journal of Fair Trade, Vol 1 Iss 1, Feb 2019. "Celebrating the life and work of Fair Trade pioneer, Robin Murray, 1940–2017", Author(s): Elaine Jones , Pauline Tiffen , Sandy Balfour , Ed Mayo https://www.scienceopen.com/hosted-document?doi=10.13169/jfairtrade.1.1.0006
— Fair Trade Futures: Women's Economic Empowerment, Elaine Jones, Global Trade Programme Director at WIEGO, 2014
— Women Producers and the Benefits of Collective Forms of Enterprise, Elaine Jones, Sally Smith, Carol Wills, 2012
— Women’s Economic Empowerment Through Fair Trade: Case Studies from India and Nepal, Elaine Jones, 2012
— Practical Examples of What Works - Women as Employees and Entrepreneurs (Audio), Elaine Jones, Global Trade Programme Director at WIEGO, 2012
— Trading Our Way Up: Women Organizing for Fair Trade, Elaine Jones, Sally Smith, Carol Wills, 2011
— "To be one - we need oneness" Kuapa Kokoo into the Future, Report on Twin visit, 18-26 June 2006,