fair trade coffee

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fair trade coffee

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1solsken
Nov 7, 2007, 4:15pm

Is anyone a regular user of fair trade and/or organic coffee? I am - even if not to 100 %. Before I start preaching of world justice and how to change the world by drinking coffee, I'll wait and see if there are any others around ;)

2MyopicBookworm
Nov 7, 2007, 4:23pm

I rarely drink any coffee which is not fairtrade. When shopping I buy fairtrade instant coffee; I go to coffee bars that serve fairtrade coffee; and the caterers at my office were persuaded to switch to it too.
(I also buy free-range eggs!)

3SqueakyChu
Nov 7, 2007, 8:59pm

If I have a choice, I'll go for the organic and/or fair trade coffees. I see that many retailers (e.g. Trader Joe's) and coffee houses feature those coffees in their selections.

I buy free range eggs directly from a farm!

4mishlei-adam
Nov 8, 2007, 9:59am

I don't participate with fair trade (I am ready for the blasting). I think it is a broken system that isn't as 'fair' as one would like to think. I do however buy into COE (coffee of excellence), which is putting an unprecedented amount of money into the hands of 3rd world farmers. I also like to use organic coffee's because that is actually regulated by the government and is guaranteed to be organic.

(I buy free range chicken and eggs)

5MyopicBookworm
Nov 9, 2007, 6:32am

>4 mishlei-adam: I'll happily blast you, if you tell me what grounds you have for your assertion that fair trade isn't as 'fair' as I would like to think.

6mishlei-adam
Nov 9, 2007, 7:54am

First the minimum set price of fair-trade coffee has not changed in 10 yrs. In origin countries in which coffee is produced, the cost of living has also increased (as can be imagined). Why is there no raise for them?

Secondly Fair-trade markets itself as a regulator or police of their policies; however, they don’t have the man power or the abilities to ensure that employee’s in these countries are actually making the money that they would be making under ‘fair-trade’ regulations on min. wage. There have been reports that upon further inspections, coffee that is sold with the Fair-trade label does not meet the standards set by “fair-trade’.

I also think that there are better ways to support these individuals who are working on these farms. Intelligentsia (a huge player in the Specialty Coffee industry) has developed direct trade relationships with their farmers, and that model seems healthier than the current feel good fair-trade model.

Is buying fair-trade better than not buying ‘fair-trade’? Maybe, but ‘fair-trade’ isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

7SqueakyChu
Editado: Nov 9, 2007, 12:19pm

--> 6

First the minimum set price of fair-trade coffee has not changed in 10 yrs. In origin countries in which coffee is produced, the cost of living has also increased (as can be imagined). Why is there no raise for them?

To me, coffee that is marketed as fair trade seems to be more expensive than other coffees. There is a limit as to how much a consumer is willing pay for coffee. This is not to deny the workers a fair wage, but to comment on how high the price of coffee can go and still be purchased.

So...I'm figuring, the profits are all going to the middle man. The price of coffee (at least gourmet coffee) continues to rise. So...why no raise for the growers? What, then, is "fair" business practice?

Intelligentsia seems to be one brand. How is that different (or better) from let's say Mayorga (a brand I favor because it is locally roasted)?

Intelligentsia

Mayorga

8solsken
Nov 9, 2007, 11:58am

Even if Fair trade is not a perfect system, I still think it is better than completely free markets that can leave farmers with unpredictably poor income should the market price of raw coffee drop.

9uath
Editado: Nov 17, 2007, 1:22am

I just attended a coffee conference at Vanderbilt University which included some interesting discussion regarding Fair Trade. Following are links to the conference information, the podcast, and Cooperative Coffees if anyone is interested.

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/releases/2007/10/22/all-you-need-to-know-about-co...

Podcast

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/news/releases?id=38048

Cooperative Coffees

http://coopcoffees.com/

10solsken
Nov 10, 2007, 4:07am

Could someone please then tell me how to do the right thing if I still want to keep on drinking coffee? I am reluctant to believe that regular coffee would be a better alternative for either the coffee farmers nor the environment.

11GojirasHejira
Ene 10, 2008, 11:57am

I watched the movie Black Gold http://www.blackgoldmovie.com/
It's supposed to be a documentary but it clearly has an agenda and Anti-American bias.

I agree the system is flawed. But I encourage anyone to be an activist with your dollars.
If you believe you should only buy certain coffee, then do it. I'm all for making change with the power of the market place instead of the current trend of legislating ourselves into oblivion. Threads like this are good because we can educate each other, then go out and spend as our conscience dictates. No one needs to "blast" any one. Check your hubris at the door, please.

Do you own a diamond from Africa?

Do you own anything from China?

Have you ever in your life benefited from Nazi technology?

There are only so many ways we can save the world. If coffee is your thing, great.

~Jimm

12GirlFromIpanema
Editado: Ene 10, 2008, 12:19pm

"I'm all for making change with the power of the market place instead of the current trend of legislating ourselves into oblivion."

See, that can be exactly the problem: Point in case: Malawi.

"Over the past 20 years, the World Bank and some rich nations Malawi depends on for aid have periodically pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers. But after the 2005 harvest, the worst in a decade, Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s newly elected president, decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached." From the leading socialist newspaper, the New York Times (*veg*): Full story here.

If you (the USA) and us (the EU) *would* actually let the power of the market place work, a lot of aid wouldn't be necessary. And letting bankers and traders decide what's good for farmers is not always the way to go: "In a withering evaluation of the World Bank’s record on African agriculture, the bank’s own internal watchdog concluded in October not only that the removal of subsidies had led to exorbitant fertilizer prices in African countries, but that the bank itself had often failed to recognize that improving Africa’s declining soil quality was essential to lifting food production."

OK, coffee is not exactly basic food production. But the principles work the same there :-).

GFI (MSc in Agriculture, so I know a bit about what's going on).