Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fair Trade:

This might be the longest post I've (Ben) ever done. But It's definitely worth the read.
-Also read a friends post JC's
Ruminations of Life on Fair Trade for a different' view if you have the time...

The United States consumes one-fifth of all the world's coffee, making it the largest consumer in the world. Starbucks is also the largest specialty coffee chain in the world. But few Americans realize that while they’re drinking their cup of Java, workers in the coffee industry often toil in what can be described as "sweatshops in the fields". Many small coffee farmers receive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt.

We’ve recently been informed of something called “Fair Trade”. In some ways I’m becoming an activist. I’m leaning more and more that there are things that we as North Americans buy that are actually harming the rest of the world in many ways… We may think it’s great to buy a cheap T-shirt or cheap Coffee but I’m learning to maybe care to ask “is the person on the other end getting a good deal?”

Fair Trade Certified products include coffee, tea, sugar and cocoa.
Fair Trade principles include:

Fair price: While world coffee prices have plummeted from an average of $1/pound to less than 50 cents, Fair Trade offers the minimum price paid reflects the true value of farm labour. This providing much needed credit to farmers, and providing technical assistance such as help transitioning to organic farming. Fair Trade for coffee farmers means community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship.

Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.

We’re learning more & more that as a Christians & North Americans we should care if our consumerism is causing someone else to have a very poor quality of life. If we can do something as easily as buying “Fair Trade” produce I think we should.

Starbucks serves Fair Trade coffee if you ask for it and sells Fair Trade coffee. Right now Starbucks only sells 1% Fair Trade making them one of the lowest Fair Trade companies. If Starbucks were to only brew Fair Trade coffee, it would represent about 37,500 pounds a day. So make sure you remember to ask and buy Fair Trade...

Look for the logo and buy certified fair trade!!!

Links of Info:
Transfair usa
Transfair usa_overview
Transfair canada
Global exchange


Ben & Ruth said...

Just to let everyone know we've found Fair Trade at Starbucks, Sam's Club & a local coffee shop/store in Durham called Chicory Common.

-Fill free to post a comment if you find Fair Trade somewhere!

JC said...

Right On Dude!

I found out that Marje's (In Alma) brews only fairtrade coffee. You can also purchase it by the pound there. Needless to say I was totally stoked about it.

Also I found out that 'second cup' (a major chain coffee shop) also is big into Fairtrade.

Nice post by the way!


JC said...

Does Sam's Club sell it any bigger than by the pound? If so what price does it have? I am looking for coffee for when we have big groups over.

If it does let me know and I might have you pick some up.



Dave & Katie said...

Real interesting stuff, guys...thanks for the info. It's good to know since we drink so much coffee.

C & M said...

GREAT post!

Alterra Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin works closely with TransFair USA. Their relationship with them goes back to 1998 when they initiated a relationship with a Chiapas, Mexico coffee cooperative. Their website lists approximately 18 different Fair Trade roasts and blends.