A lot of fuss is made about fair trade coffee and if you coffee from Starbucks for instance then you are likely to be made well aware by a lot of hardly-subtle advertising and marketing that the coffee you are drinking is fair trade and that that is a good thing. But what does it all mean? What is fair trade? Here we will look at the answer to that question and why it's such a good idea to use fair trade coffee whenever possible.
Fair trade coffee of course means that the coffee you are drinking is fair. But fair to whom you may wonder? Well of course the answer is that it is fair to the countries and the individuals selling the coffee beans. Of course the coffee you drink is not as a rule grown over here and most of what you drink will be imported in from third world countries.
This coffee is a very important export for those countries and it is one of the only ways that they can make some income, but unfortunately a lot of corporations over here take advantage of them by paying very low prices. Of course as those countries aren't very well off this then means that they will take what they can get, and this helps keep profits high and overheads low for those businesses. The problem is that this then of course means those countries don't get any richer and that they never pay off their debt. The fact that people are working incredible hours over there just to earn enough to give their children hardly-clean water doesn't seem to matter to some of these big organizations.
That's where fair trade coffee comes in which basically says that the companies will pay a good rate for that import. It's still relatively low, but for the workers in those countries the difference is huge and it's a lot fairer. If you buy coffee that says 'fair trade' on it, then you can rest assured that the guy at the bottom of the pyramid is getting a better cut of your money.
But this has other benefits of course as well. For one it means that those farmers etc can now start to ask for higher prices for their coffee from other companies – because they have another option. And of course it's good for the companies like Starbucks because it means that they can market the fact that they sell fair trade which will encourage more people to choose their coffee over the competition which does not necessarily. And at the same time it allows the person drinking that coffee to feel better about themselves.
On top of all this though fair trade coffee also often means various other things – for instance it tends to mean the coffee is harvested using sustainable methods – in other words it's not going to run out and meaning that the environment is taken into account contributing less to things like global warming.
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