Why Fair Trade Coffee Matters for the Environment
You’ve probably heard all about the cost of coffee when it comes to your bottom line: Hitting up coffee shops costs many of us $11 (or more!) per week. Beyond that, though, there are a few other things we all need to consider when it comes to our daily coffee habit. Specifically, the impact your beans have on the environment, the conditions for the workers, how the coffee gets from field to cup, and so on. Our point: Whether you’re making it at home or paying a barista to do it, you should be looking for Fair Trade Coffee.
In honor of Earth Day this month, we decided to take a deeper look at Fair Trade coffee. Keep reading to better understand why your coffee choice is so important.
First, What is Fair Trade Coffee?
The idea of Fair Trade products grew out of a grassroots movement to promote items made by small, independent producers around the world. Shoppers wanted more sustainability and transparency surrounding the things they were buying. They wanted to know where their products were coming from, what the working conditions were like, how manufacturing processes were impacting the environment, and more.
What does that mean in terms of coffee? “When a coffee is Fair Trade Certified it means that the coffee was produced against rigorous standards that protect the environment, empower producers, and support local communities,” explains Ayers. “Our system not only sets rigorous standards that protect the environment and provide safe working conditions—it also empowers producers to make choices for the good of themselves and their community.”
Fair Trade Certified coffee benefits everyone in the supply chain, Ayers adds. “Farmers and workers gain access to sustainable livelihoods, brands can offer quality products, retailers can manage risk and become leaders in the industry, and consumers can shop their values and trust in the brands they purchase.”
How Fair Trade Coffee Benefits the Environment
When you buy conventional coffee, it comes with a risk that the workers and the environment could have been exploited. “Issues common to non-Fair Trade farms include water pollution, deforestation, use of GMOs and harmful pesticides, as well as forced/child labor,” Ayers warns. “Workers have minimal rights on non-Fair Trade farms, lack facilities and basic resources, and are often exposed to harmful chemicals.”
On a Fair Trader farm, however, certain standards must be met. When you buy Fair Trade coffee you get coffee grown with biodiversity, conservation, and sustainability in mind. “Fair Trade enforces standards that ensure water is used efficiently, there is no deforestation, and farmers enhance on-farm biodiversity.”
How Fair Trade Coffee Benefits the Workers
Unlike producers of commodities like oil and natural gas, coffee farmers only receive a small fraction of the retail price of their crop. But the Fair Trade farmers have protection. “Coffee prices are volatile and traditional trade threatens the livelihoods of farmers and workers who are unable to cover their production costs,” says Ayers. See, there’s a minimum price guaranteed to Fair Trade farmers—even when commodity prices fluctuate. “This minimum price allows farmers to invest in trainings and resources to further care for the land and the environment.” The systems created through Fair Trade allow producers to continue to offer quality coffee, while also supporting their families and communities.
Fair Trade at Maud's
Here at Maud’s Coffee & Tea, we’re proud to let you know that we offer a line of 100% Fair Trade certified coffee pods. With our passion for discovering delicious high-quality blends around the world, comes a responsibility to take care of the regions we source our beans from. Because of this, we’ve created a line of coffee that’s built around our core value of positively impacting both the environment and community from which our beans are grown. After all, if we brew good we do good for everyone! Where to today? Our Fair Trade Organic collection takes your taste buds to the cafes of Mexico, Honduras, Columbia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Indonesia ✈🌎 Shop our Fair-Trade Line here!
(Article excerpted from William Sonoma)