What is Fair Trade Coffee? What Does it Mean?
Fair trade coffee means that companies have pledged to transact with local coffee farmers and pay them a fair price for their product. This type of agreement will help these farmers develop a growing coffee industry. In order to be considered “fair trade,” the management and business operations on both sides of the transaction are expected to be transparent. Fair trade coffee also helps to ensure the safety of the workers’ farming environment, and guarantees that child labor or forced labor is not used to cultivate the coffee in any way. At the same time, fair trade agreements offer improved technology and training for workers. The resulting business model improves the local infrastructure through building bridges, schools, and hospitals. All these measures lead to the final goal of practicing healthy economic development and alleviating poverty. Equity can be achieved on both sides of the trade deal, while efforts are made towards sustainable development.
Fair Trade Certified
Fair Trade Certificationis a designation issued by a third party. Obtaining fair trade certification means that the business’s products are made in a fair work environment using environmentally friendly practices. The certification is issued by the Fairtrade International (formerly known as FLO, or the Fair Trade Labeling Organization).
Coffee is a profiteering industry because of the instability of the coffee market. Middlemen often make huge profits while the cheap labor force lives in severe poverty. This unfair arrangement also leads to a high percentage of school dropout rates in the coffee growing countries. With no opportunity to go to school, young men and women go to work in the coffee industry. The fair trade coffee certification program was created to help solve these problems. Whenever a consumer buys a cup of fair trade coffee, that purchase supports poor coffee farmers in a developing country. When the farmer’s income increases, he encouraged to abstain from using chemicals to grow the coffee. Long-term sustainability is the goal, and the practice of fair trade benefits both consumers and farmers.
Benefits from Fair Trade Coffee
Generally speaking, Fair Trade means that the farmers in developing countries receive reasonable payment for their product without exploitation of their labor. Labeling coffee as “Fair Trade” helps consumers to choose those companies that guarantee the basic rights of workers across the globe.
Some scholars believe that it is necessary to educate coffee consumers so that they will become accustomed to buying only fair trade coffee. By encouraging customers to look for the Fair Trade label every time, fair labor conditions and sustainable development will become the norm in the industry. What’s more, farmers can also receive increased income by growing certified coffee.
No matter how you look at it, Fair Trade coffee is a win-win situation.