Most people cannot live without their coffee. Coffee is a highly lucrative industry, being the most traded commodity after oil. However whilst coffee has huge profit potential, it isn’t always traded in a fair manner. Thankfully fair trade is popping up on more and more coffee labels but what does fair trade actually mean and why should we drink fair trade coffee?
Fairtrade coffee is environmentally sustainable
With the increasing demand for coffee, comes the increase in supply. The biggest source of environmental damage where coffee is concerned comes during the production of the beans themselves. In order to keep up with the demands of the coffee, non-fair trade coffee farmers have changed the production methods that involve chemicals such as pesticides and fertilisers. Not only does this have detrimental effects on the environment but also on our health. When you choose fair trade coffee you are supporting sustainable organic farming practices that enables the environment to thrive and be preserved for future generations.
Fairtrade coffee supports the local producers
Buying fair trade means that you are supporting the workers and communities involved in the production of their coffee. Whilst the profits are high in this industry, the distribution of these profits and commodity practices aren’t always allocated fairly. Buying fair trade means that those doing the hard work to put that hot cup of morning coffee in your hand are being supported and not taken advantage of by big business. Australia’s number one organic and fair trade coffee company República pride themselves on this. As stated in their philosophy, they are “big believers in fair pay for a day's work” and are committed to paying their “third world farmers a fair price so they can afford basics like education & healthcare."
Fair Trade certified producers are also protected by a base price that has been set by the international Fair Trade Labelling Organization. Due to the coffee market being susceptible to fluctuations, if the market drops then the fair trade certified producers can count on at least getting the Fairtrade minimum price to support their needs.
Fairtrade coffee supports the local communities
Each time you buy fair trade coffee, you are re-investing a small portion of that money into the local communities. Many fair trade producers allocate a portion of their profits to social development initiates supporting the housing, education and healthcare systems of their local communities.
It’s healthier and tastes better
As the supply tries to keep up with the demands, mass production means that the quality of the coffee can be compromised. Fairtrade coffee has been grown slowly, using traditional cultivation techniques under a rain forest canopy and chemical free organic farming. This enables the coffee bean to retain its nutrients and support its flavour profile.
With any booming industry that requires mass production to service the demands, it raises an ethical dilemma of whether the environment, workers, communities and businesses are all equally protected. Choosing fair trade coffee ensures that not only you are looked after with a great tasting hot cup'of coffee, but that the resources that went into creating it are also looked after.