Awareness of FAIR-TRADE in Coffee

‘Fair-trade’ is one of the many words that are usually associated with sustainability. We, b+office Coworking Space Berlin, have been putting more efforts on how to be sustainable. Beside trying to be more sustainable for the environment, we’re trying to give more impacts on the society. As we were figuring out how we could do that, we realized that we are in a surrounding where the people heavily consume coffee daily. Our coworkers love drinking coffee. Many can’t even function properly without at least two cups of coffee. So, then it would be ideal to start on consuming coffee sustainably by purchasing a fair-traded coffee.

 

But what does fair-trade mean and how does it contribute to a sustainable business?

 

“Fairtrade changes the way trade works through better prices, decent working conditions and a fairer deal for farmers and workers in developing countries” – FAIRTRADE INTERNATIONAL, About-Page

 

The word Fairtrade is no longer a new thing to our ears and eyes. We often see it on a product packaging in the supermarket shelves. It’s a certification that a brand has undergone a certain ethical way (economically, socially, and environmentally) to produce the product. This label is there to ensure consumers that the sold product, for example, doesn’t participate in child and forced labor, meets a minimum purchase price, and many more.

 

How does fair-trade affect us as coffee consumers?

Coffee is basically a necessity for most people. This leads to a stable demand for coffee. Unfortunately, most consumers lack the knowledge as to who grows the crop and where and how it’s grown. As a result, many small coffee farmers are at loss when trading because they don’t have the access to the market and price information. They’re also incapable of getting out of poverty due to their limitation on resources and low wages. Hence, the fair-trade’s main goal in coffee industry is to reduce the poverty of the coffee farmers.

 

However, many criticize that the impact of fair-trade in coffee is small. According to 2011 Stanford Social Innovation, the fair-trade-certified coffee is not actually increasing coffee farmers’ quality of life, exactly what it had promised to do. This is due to the reality that it is so easy for many companies to hide behind the label of “doing good”. Many decided to then lower their coffee’s quality and sell it at a higher than the average market price. Beside selling lower-quality coffee, many cooperatives also distribute the premium, which is the extra-fee that should be used for social services of the workers and farmers to improve their social, economic, and environmental conditions, to build a nice facility for their coffee lab.

 

“The use of ethics from a heart-centered perspective can be far more powerful in the long term than any certification or label” –Georgi Djalev, in an article FAIR TRADE, FAIRTRADE AND COFFEE

 

This is where Caventura’s business ideology “beyond-sustainable innovation” in fair-trade for their coffee comes in. For them, fair-trade doesn’t necessarily mean to have the certification labelled on your product, but how the company is being transparent about their production process. This can be achieved by customers asking for transparency. But how to do that?

 

  • As the consumers, you should find out if the coffee is sold by a reliable local roaster. Are they willing to share the information on who grew the crops? where and how was it grown?
  • Does it come from a well-known region that focuses on specialty coffee?
  • Is there any evidence that the producer is being responsible to the society around them, such as in the education- or infrastructure-district?

 

So, let’s take a step to moderately empower the producers by being aware when purchasing coffee. We, consumers, should select good-quality coffees and demand more transparency to the producer. Knowing this, being a heavy coffee consumer, b+office coworking space Berlin chooses to be more aware and to raise awareness regarding fair-trade for coffee. Therefore, we have decided to partner up with Caventura due to their great quality of coffee, their business ideology, and their transparency. You, as our coworker, could participate on helping the coffee farmers, whom Caventura works with, lead a better life’s quality just by sipping that cup of coffee that helps you to start your day.

 

 

For more information on Fair Trade in Coffee, you could look at the article that Georgi Djalev, Founder of Caventura, wrote: click here!