More often than not, you’ll find that millions of Americans start, continue, or end their day with a cup of coffee. We are living in a country that consumes an astounding one-fifth of the world’s coffee, making the United States one of the largest coffee consumers in the world. Rather than focusing on the double espresso latte we’ll be enjoying the next morning, we should shift our attention to the question of whether our routine cup of coffee is fair trade or not. After all, going green wouldn’t be complete without taking into consideration the fair or unfair production of the food and beverages that we regularly consume.
Before putting coffee beans into our coffee machine in the morning, be sure to take a look at the packaging and check out if it is fair trade certified. According to the Transfair USA website, “The Fair Trade Certified™ label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product.” Detailed criteria for Fair Trade products can be found on the website and are featured below:
Fair prices: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.
Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
Direct trade: With Fair Trade, importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and GMOs are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers' health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.
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