Fair Trade coffee is a very important topic; this type of coffee production ensures fair working conditions for those who supply the product. The concept of supporting coffee producers who are poor with trading has been present for many years. However the labeling of fair trade products really started to take off in the year 1988. The idea was a solution to the fall of coffee prices all around the world, which of course was a threat to a huge number of poor farmers’ livelihoods. The idea, which began in the Netherlands, soon gained popularity and spread to many other countries. Other produce also began to be labelled as Fair Trade, such as tea, bananas and chocolate.
What is fair trade coffee? Well, any product which has been traded in an ethical manner could be considered “Fair Trade”. But for products to have the official Fair-Trade label, they must adhere to a set of strict criteria. For a packet or jar of coffee to have a Fair-trade label, it needs to meet certain standards; these standards were created so as to make sure that trade and production of coffee and other goods are socially responsible. Criteria like this helps to assist marginalized and disadvantaged famers who work on a smaller scale, as well as those who work on plantations. The criteria for Fair-Trade is related to three different areas of development which is sustainable. These areas include economic development, social development and environmental development. The standards must be met by both the producers of coffee as well as their organizations and the traders.
The main aims of these standards are to make sure that there is a fair minimum price for the coffee which is agreed upon by the producers. The minimum price which is paid by the buyers covers sustainable production costs. The standards also provide a premium as an additional cost; this money is then spent on projects which benefit the economy, society and environment of the producers. These projects are decided upon in a democratic manner by a farmer organizations as well as those who work on the plantations. The Fair Trade standards also help to give financial aid to producers who need it and encourage partnership between the traders. Fair Trade guidelines also help to create healthy relationships between producers and traders so that sustainable production and long term plans can be made as well as setting up progressive rules to make sure that coffee which is produced and traded is economically, socially and environmentally fair.
So the next time you’re in a cafe or a supermarket, deciding which coffee to buy, make sure you choose fair trade coffee; then you’ll know you have done your bit today to make the world a better place.
This article contributed by Caffe Society. Here’s their link: