About Us: The Team

The partners at Adapt Together have two decades of experience in the area of social, economic and environmental development in agriculture in the global South. Those years have given the partners a deep and invaluable understanding of the realities of different countries, different cultures, and different products. But the experience has also resulted in the realization that third party standards and certification schemes, while generating positive impact, are limited in their ability to address the diverse and dynamic challenges faced by industry.

Tom Poole

Tom began his career as a corporate lawyer, focusing primarily on public and private financing. After completing an MBA Tom joined McCain Foods in the area of mergers and acquisitions, eventually leaving McCain to found his own food company. During his tenure as President and CEO, the company was twice named one of Canada's Fastest-Growing companies, was also named one of Canada's 20 Best-Managed Companies, and Tom was named an Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Tom gained his experience in development work during almost 5 years at FLO-CERT, where he held various positions, the final being the Director of Operations.
Tom has sat on several Boards, including McCain Foods Europa, AVAC (an NGO funding value-added agribusiness in Canada), the Canadian Food Processors Association, and Sepp's Gourmet Foods Ltd. (a listed company at the time).

Tom's strengths include:
▪ Extensive experience as a private label supplier of food products to retail chains and brands in Canada,
USA and the UK.
▪ Exposure to the issues of risk management, both as a supplier and as a publicly-traded company. Supply chain management experience, as the CEO of a company with numerous production facilities in 3 countries.
▪ A solid understanding and appreciation for the challenges that brands (including retailers) face in their CSR efforts. Extensive financial experience.


Clay Brown

Clay has worked for nearly a decade in the social and environmental sustainability sector. Clay's career in this sector began at the Fairtrade Foundation in the U.K. (the largest and most saturated market for Fairtrade labelled products). With a strong focus on the U.K. food retail sector, in particular retail private label and brands engagement with Fairtrade, Clay saw the U.K. food sector move from little to no engagement with sustainability labelling schemes to widespread commitment. After his time at the Fairtrade Foundation, Clay moved to the global certification company, FLO-CERT. Working in various management capacities, most notably, Associate Director of Certification, he led numerous innovations into the FLO-CERT certification systems. Having been responsible for all audits and certification decisions at FLO-CERT across 70 countries and for nearly 3000 customers guaranteed an extensive understanding of all critical actors in the supply chains of key commodities traded from the Global South.

Clay's strengths include:
▪ An in-depth understanding of supply chains and the interdependence of all the actors in the chain.
▪ Extensive experience in dealing with producer groups, specifically organized and unorganized farming structures in the Global South.
▪ Many years of experience in the arena of certification – both trader and producer focused.
▪ A pragmatic and proven ability to balance the divergent interests of the various players in the North/South agricultural supply chains – with a particularly strong exposure to coffee and cocoa.