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Is Fairtrade Coffee Really Fairly Traded Coffee?

This is a discussion on Is Fairtrade Coffee Really Fairly Traded Coffee? within the Coffee Industry Forum forums, part of the Coffee Industry category; Well said, expat! I discovered the "outright deception and subtle misdirection" when I was researching and comparing "low-fat" and "low sugar" items in the supermarket. ...

  1. #11
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    Well said, expat!

    I discovered the "outright deception and subtle misdirection" when I was researching and comparing "low-fat" and "low sugar" items in the supermarket. Needless to say, my eyes are wide open!

    Your Roast Mistress was very fortunate in getting you to cooperate with reading product labels. About 5 years ago, I was finally able to convince my husband that it was a good idea to look for expiration dates and not just grab the first item on the shelf. Too many times the expired stuff is located first in the lineup - I'm surprised the stores get away with it.

    Rose

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  3. #12
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    From the cheap seats. Fair trade is a corporate marketing initiative that tells the world we are doing good things out there. This after the publicity of farmers working without shoes and kids eating dirt. My business partner came back from central america after meeting with the head of a countries coffee association. He told me that the man had just finished with Starbucks and had nothing good say about it. Where you and I may worry about pennies, they worry about fractions of pennies, where you and I may worry about quality, they only want a large pooled lot.

    I have ranted about this before, In Canada, in order to join such an organization, you have to drop your pants. you have to sign to allow them to audit your business and books. I would'nt let my mother see my books. What self respecting businessman would allow some two bit outfit unfettered access to their books ?

  4. #13
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    Amen! to that.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  5. #14
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    I agree about the comment about sb. My friend here in Guatemala stopped selling with sb because of the treatment. The profit margin was so low he decided to sell locally and make more. As far as the many labels from my opinion (I walk often in plantations here in Guatemala) it is a shame the way the workers are treated. Fair trade by WHOSE STANDARDS. It really is a marketing scheme to sell a pound faster than the ones that do not have the label.

  6. #15
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    Fairtrade? good way to pump money from one administration to another!

  7. #16
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    This is a good discussion;
    We've been roasting coffee for over 12 years, and the biggest drawback to NOT offering FT coffee, is the amount of explanation it takes, when perspective customers as why you don't offer it.

    We're about to launch a new online venture, and rather than dance around the issue, we've decided to go with the flow, and offer organic & fair trade.

  8. #17
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    dstrand, stick to your guns. Don't go with the flow.

    I created a Coffee With Conscience logo to put on my bags. On my website I tell folks what that means. It works.

    I do coffee tastings in supermarkets most every weekend and people come up and ask me about Fairtrade and I tell them I'm way beyond Fairtrade because my coffee has conscience. They look at the logo, say "cool man, keep up the good work", mentally check the box in their head, pick up two bags of my coffee, and head to check out.

    I also tell folks that we're "fairly traded".

    Also I've started putting business card size notes in my bags that say 'Learn the truth about Fairtrade' and direct them to my website where I've got a long explanation about what's happened to Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, etc. Now I'm getting feedback from the folks that actually go and read all the stuff, because they care, saying 'good job' and 'stick to your principles' and 'thanks for raising awareness on this issue'.

    If you're interested in any of the info on my website take it and use it on yours. Also early on in this thread there is a reference to an article about this subject that you should link to from your website.

    Not sure why I've become so passionate about this subject. I guess I'm just sick of all the lying and all the marketers twisting 'Juan Valdez' every which way just so they can make a buck. I'm probably to the point of losing a balanced perspective on the subject -- twisting the truth does that to me -- so feel free to reign me in.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  9. #18
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    So, what's the difference between your "coffee with a conscience" sticker and a "fair trade" one? Sounds to me like you might possibly be just exchanging one sticker for the other.

  10. #19
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    it may or may not be as you are thinkning
    Moderator removed two non-coffee related links from his signature!

  11. #20
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    Eldub, you make a good point. Maybe I am substuting one for the other . . . ? I guess the best thing is for me to ask my customers what they think about it. I can tell you that I've been amazed at the number of folks who have commented to me directly at our tastings or via email about the issue and if nothing else the Coffee With Conscience logo has been a good conversation starter. "What's that all about?" people ask, we explain. It is great to see how passionate some folks get about the issue. Kind of restores your faith in humanity.

    We do work hard to ensure that the provenance of our coffee is as documented as it can be.

    Our main importer has certainly been an activist. They were making no-interest micro loans to farmers back in the 70s way before the governments and NGOs got involved. They were paying premiums for coffee before Fairtrade became such a movement. To me that's coffee with conscience.

    Another guy we work with has his "feet on the farm", buying direct, and paying well above Fairtrade prices. Also he helps to educate the farms he works with on improved growing and harvesting methods. Granted he specializes in coffee from one Central American country but I'd say he has coffee with conscience too.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

 

 
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