Fair Trade Certification; What it is and how it applies to the coffee industry...
Fair Trade Certified products are food or craft products that have been proven to adhere to strict production standards set by one of two independent labeling organizations, Fair Trade USA or the Institute for Marketecology (IMO). For coffee and cocoa specifically, in addition to prohibiting child labor practices and activities that degrade society and the environment, these certification standards require that the product is grown by small farmers in democratically organized cooperatives.
In other words, you can be sure that any product labeled Fair Trade Certified was not produced using child labor or sweatshop conditions, and that the rights of all workers involved in the production process were respected. You can also be sure that the cost of certification was high and required that the producer(s) invest heavily. As a result, many farmers experience only a small increase in profit-if they receive any additional profit at all. In addition, the higher product cost limits local access to the product itself.
For our part, we carry many Fair Trade coffees; in many cases, they are some of the best coffees available at market. Additionally, we appreciate that the Fair Trade Standards in place are keeping the farm workers and the environment safe. However, we also recognize that some of the best coffees in the world come from small micro farms that want to remain locally available and/or are unable to afford the costly certification process.
At the end of the day, we work hard to ensure that the beans we buy are from coffee farms using sustainable and fair work practices. We don't want to miss out on a good coffee simply because the farmer can't afford the FT certification. We do not directly seek out FT beans, nor do we charge more for the FT products we do sell just because they are Fair Trade certified. Our sole mission is to provide high quality, ethically sourced beans, roast them to perfection and deliver them to your door fresh.
For more information on Fair Trade practices and Fair Trade Certification, please refer to the following articles: