What is Fair Trade Coffee?

Posted by Chris Treter.

Hmmm great question! Glad I asked. Fair Trade to many means many different things. This blog will further investigate, examine and deepen our understanding of the quest for true fair trade and environmental sustainability within the wonderful world of coffee – a beverage over half of all adults drink nearly every day.

From its humble beginnings just 20 years ago, the movement has grown to a multimillion dollar a year industry. Today there is fair trade certified bananas, rice, fruit preserves, soap, tea, chocolate, coffee and more. Crafts, textiles, clothes, and spoons are sold as being fair trade. The trend has caught the eyes of multinational companies who see both the benefit for the farmer AND to gain access to an exponentially growing market. There is a fair trade month, a world fair trade day and fair trade towns. As is true with all movements – especially when the all powerful dollar is involved, fair trade has become co-opted, and deepened, and sometimes dismissed.

IFAT Fair Trade

FLO Fair Trade CoffeeTransfair USAFair Trade Federation Logo

To gain market share, some companies have used the word “fair trade” loosely – not following the core values and directives of third party certification systems and instead declaring themselves to be “fair trade.” Some have made their own version of “fair trade” to meet their own needs and “green” themselves rather then tending to the needs of the farmers or producers who make the goods. Intelligensia claims “direct trade” while Starbucks has built their own “Cafe Standards,” many argue neither fully works within an international movement to improve lives in growing communities in an integrated manner. On the other hand many companies that make up Cooperative Coffee – the only 100% fair trade green been importing cooperative in the United States – are working with allies and farmers in the field to deepen fair trade.

Certification systems and labels have been cropping up, at times confusing consumers. Transfair USA offers “fair trade certified” certification working with growing cooperatives who are certified through the Fair Trade Labeling Organization. Rainforest Alliance offers certification that aims to “conserve biodiversity and create sustainable livelihoods” in coffee growing communities. Utz Certified says it provides consumers with assurance of “responsible coffee production and sourcing.”

But, true fair trade is more then a label or buying coffee (or tea or sugar etc.) at a “fair price.” It is a deepening of relationships and building bridges between producers and buyers while staying cognizant of the fact that growers the world over are the losers in a global economic systems where they are responsible for the production of the very crop that keeps them in poverty. The following will be an examination of the phenomenon of fair trade and environmental sustainability.

Using Higher Grounds Trading Co. and our partner farmers as an open book – an experiment if you will – we’ll be reporting from coffee growing regions the world over, asking farmers what they think fair trade is and should be while drawing on our experiences as a quickly growing company attempting to stay authentic to our mission. At the same time we’ll be discussing the tried and true practices of allies in the field of fair trade and examination of those that are rising eyebrows in the industry. You better grab a cup of joe for this one….

Advertisements

16 Responses to What is Fair Trade Coffee?

  1. timjo62 says:

    Your site is now linked to UH Students for Fair Trade. Check it out:

    http://uhfairtrade.org/allies/

  2. beeractivist says:

    timjo62 – cool. Thanks man. Now you’re linked here too.

    Chris O’

  3. slim coffee says:

    slim coffee…

    […]What is Fair Trade Coffee? « Bean Activist[…]…

  4. http://healthyfood4good.blogspot.com/ says:

    I found https://beanactivist.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/what-is-fair-trade-coffee/ on google and verify just a few of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the superb operate. %WEBSITE% just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Searching for ahead to studying more from you later on!…

  5. http://www.organicpurelynatural.blogspot.com/ says:

    for people who have

  6. Howdy I am so grateful I found your web site, I really found you by error,
    while I was browsing on Aol for something else,
    Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a incredible post
    and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I
    don’t have time to read through it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb work.

  7. Hi fantastic website! Does running a blog similar to this require
    a large amount of work? I’ve very little understanding of programming however I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, if you have any recommendations or tips for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic nevertheless I simply needed to ask. Cheers!

  8. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I came across this during my
    hunt for something regarding this.

  9. Blanche says:

    However, isn’t it strange that before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America and that today heart disease causes at least 40 per cent of all US deaths. To use as a diaper salve, simply apply a generous amount of pure oil to your baby’s freshly cleaned skin after changing your baby’s diaper. The reason is it’s been established across the
    industry.

  10. If you want to get a great deal from this post then you have to apply such methods
    to your won blog.

  11. latino chat says:

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% positive. Any suggestions or advice would be
    greatly appreciated. Thank you

  12. Excellent blog right here! Also your web site quite a bit
    up fast! What web host are you using? Can I am getting
    your affiliate link to your host? I desire my website loaded up as quickly
    as yours lol

  13. Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with approximately all significant infos.

    I’d like to peer extra posts like this .

  14. Nice info.. Dear please share your email address so i can have some useful info from you as im having a presentation next week and need some genius suggestion and one thing more that i have added some excellent points from this article to my presentation. Thanks for the helping blog.

  15. I believe this is one of the most vital info for me.
    And i am satisfied studying your article.
    However wanna statement on some normal issues,
    The web site taste is wonderful, the articles is in point of fact
    nice : D. Excellent activity, cheers

  16. Veda says:

    Its not my first time to pay a visit this site, i am
    browsing this web page dailly and get pleasant facts from here all the time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: