What is Fair Trade Coffee?
Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2012 at 9:15 am
If you’re like most Americans, you can’t quite get your day started until you’ve had that first cup of coffee. Statistics show that Americans consume about 400 million cups of coffee a day with the average consumption being around 3 cups a day. Very specific conditions are required to grow coffee beans. They are imported to America from regions with more tropical climates like Brazil or Colombia. With so many coffee beans being grown each year, you can imagine the effect it has on the environment as well as farmers and laborers.
Fair Trade products are produced in a way that is fair to producers and consumers while being environmentally responsible. Fair Trade organizations like the World Fair Trade Organization or Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International charge a base fee to small farms independently. In exchange, the approved companies can use the Fair Trade logo in any of their product labels or marketing materials.
Currently, there are no universally approved regulations for what makes a product “Fair Trade,” but several rules remain the same amongst the many Fair Trade certification programs. The biggest standard that farms have to live by is proof that all of their employees are paid a fair wage for a fair amount of labor. Everyone from the farm owner right down to the pickers and farmhands must be paid enough to live.
Fair Trade also often refers to farms that follow environmental or sustainable guidelines. In many cases, certified farms receive instruction and training on ways to improve the environmental impact of food production. In the case of coffee, this helps to ensure that the tropical regions where coffee beans are found aren’t destroyed by overproduction in an effort to meet the demands required internationally.
In addition to coffee, the fair trade label can be found on products like cocoa, textiles, wine, and more. Making the switch to fair trade products is one way to ensure you’re not only getting higher quality products, but that you’re doing your part to help the environment and helping preserve the beautiful lands where your favorite fair trade products are produced.