Whether you are walking through a grocery store, browsing products online, or shopping at a clothing store, you will frequently see the words “fair trade” printed on product packaging. Over the last few year’s you may have seen those words more frequently, but you may be asking yourself “What is fair trade?” and “Why should I purchase fair trade coffee?” Let us explain!
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, fair trade is a movement to help producers in developing countries receive a fair wage for their labor and products. Paying a fair wage to these producers assists in working towards the larger goal of reducing poverty, providing for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promoting environmentally sustainable practices. The fair trade certification was introduced in 1988 when there was a big supply and demand issue in the coffee industry. Initially launched in the Netherlands, the fair trade certification was put in place to aide exploited coffee farmers and ensure growers received a fair wage so that they could make a profit from their products and labor. Following the introduction of the fair trade certification in 1988, several European organizations that had a passion for fair trade came together to create the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International in 1997 to set the standard for fair trade goods. Today, there are several fair trade labor certification systems in the US market, including Fair Trade International USA, Fair Trade USA, and IMO Fair for Life that work towards upholding these standards.
So, why purchase fair trade coffee? Your purchase of fair trade coffee does a lot more than just guarantee the quality of your product; your purchase guarantees a minimum payment to those who are working the coffee farms. By purchasing fair trade coffee, you are supporting the practice of providing workers with a living wage, one that allows them to receive a salary that will cover basic food, shelter, medical care and more. Beyond setting a minimum for the price of coffee, cooperatives are given a fair trade premium which is a sum of money that can be invested in community projects that foster environmental or economic development. With the purchase of fair trade goods, you are not only purchasing quality products, but you are also making a difference in the lives of the farmers, their families, and their communities as a whole!
In addition to making sure that the farmers earn a fair wage for their harvest, we also donate an additional 10% of the profits from each cup or bag of Growers Alliance coffee to help rebuild the poor coffee growing communities where we source our coffees from. If you’re wondering how your cup or bag of organic, fair trade Growers Alliance coffee is making a difference, click here to learn how we are giving back to provide better access to clean water and healthcare which are the two biggest needs in rural Kenya.