What Is Fair Trade Coffee, and What Does It Mean?

Clint Doerfler
Clint Doerfler
Updated: February 24, 2023
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Fair trade coffee is a way of leveling the playing field when it comes to purchasing the world’s most popular beverage.

This type of trading ensures that farmers receive fair compensation for their beans, protecting them from exploitation by large corporations. By partaking in this system, these hardworking men and women are able to make sustainable livings and adequately provide for their families.
By choosing coffee that's fair trade certified, not only do consumers get to taste the freshest and most flavorful cup of joe, they also ensure that farming practices remain sustainable in order to protect the environment.
By supporting the farmers who grow their coffee with each purchase, we can contribute towards making this industry fair for all stakeholders.

The Positive Effects of Fair Trade on Farmers and Their Rural Communities

Fair trade is an absolute necessity for farmers and their families. It guarantees that coffee growers can get a fair wage for the work they do, as well as access to better working conditions, healthcare benefits and more.

This helps them lead productive lives while earning respectable wages; thus resulting in improved quality of life within their communities.

The Downsides of the Conventional Coffee Trade System

Sadly, the standard coffee trade often leads to the exploitation of cultivators. If they can, a lot of importers will pay a coffee producer small wages and only allow minimal control over production processes. This may lead to hazardous labor practices and a poor working environment.

Fair trade acts as a solution by guaranteeing that growers get fair compensation for their work, along with safer employee environments. In addition, it works towards reducing poverty levels and inequality by providing aid for local economies.

Enjoying the Sweet Taste of Fair Trade Coffee with Eco-Friendly Benefits

Not only does coffee that's fair trade promote social justice and ethical consumption, it also has massive environmental benefits. It vitalizes sustainable practices during production that help to protect biodiversity and reduce air pollution.

Farmers can also use the funds brought in by their product to improve soil quality while reducing deforestation at the same time. They support organic farming methods as well - keeping toxins out of our food supply whilst maintaining a healthy planet for us all.

Understanding the Impact of Fair Trade Certification and How It Operates

To become Fair Trade certified, coffee production must abide by certain standards. This involves ensuring that farmers receive fair wages and a safe environment for employees, to help protect the environment through sustainable practices in harvesting, and supporting local economies around the world.

In order to be granted this certification by Fairtrade International (an independent organization which sets these criteria for products), beans must meet their guidelines. Alongside that, farmers also have a role in determining how it’s produced.

What Is a Fair Trade Premium?

Fair trade certification not only assures farmers’ fair wages and safety in the workplace, but farmers are also eligible to receive a premium for their certified Fair Trade coffee, known as the ‘fair trade premium’.

This is used to enhance the local communities where these coffees grow. With this extra money, communities can get new schools and access to clean water, boosting their local economy.

By using this bonus income and investing it back into their locality, farming families assist everybody in their community to experience an improved quality of life.

Investing in Fair Trade Coffee - a Smart Choice for Everyone!

As a responsible consumer, you can actively contribute to the success of fair trade by supporting it in various ways.
  • Look for ethically sourced products that comply with international standards. Search for goods certified by Fairtrade International or other reliable certification organizations like Rainforest Alliance and USDA Certified Organic.
  • Join the fight to support Fair Trade goods by asking your local coffee shops if they sell fair trade products. If not, kindly suggest that they consider joining this important cause.
  • Support coffee farmers and their communities by shopping for fair trade coffees online from trustworthy vendors like Equal Exchange or Global Exchange. By doing so, you’re helping to give more economic and social power to those who produce your favorite beverage.

Companies Play a Crucial Role in Fair Trade as Well

Businesses can do their part by choosing to sell only ethical and sustainable products. This not only increases the demand for it, but also increases awareness.

Businesses can partner up with organizations like Fairtrade International to guarantee that their supply chain abides by fair standards, too. By including policies that support fair trade, businesses show their customers how committed they are to creating positive outcomes and social responsibility in all aspects of work!

Many organizations and campaigns advocate fair trade coffee, striving to ensure buyers pay farmers a lucrative wage while consumers receive ethically sourced beans of the highest quality.

As awareness of the importance of supporting farmers and their communities through fair trade practices rises, so does the need for organizations that ensure certification for fairly traded products.

More fair trade organizations are jumping on board. Conservation International and Starbucks spear-headed this movement in 2015 with their Sustainable Coffee Challenge, which was founded by eighteen companies dedicated to making coffee production more sustainable. These initiatives help teach people they can make a difference in achieving fairness and sustainability on an international level.

FairTrade Coffee Brands / Fair Trade Certified Coffees

Wouldn’t you enjoy your coffee more knowing that you’re supporting the farmers and workers behind it by purchasing fairtrade Certified brands?

Because of how and where the beans are grown, you not only get higher quality beans, but you also help to ensure they’ve been sustainably sourced with an emphasis on environmental, social, and economic standards. With the variety of certified coffees available for purchase, you will find a brand that fits your taste and preference.

Here are some notable Fair Trade brands with superior flavor:
  • Equal Exchange
  • Kicking Horse Coffee
  • Larry’s Coffee
  • Cafédirect
  • Rise Up Coffee
  • Allegro Coffee
  • Ethical Bean Coffee
  • Volcanica Coffee
  • Tiny Footprint Coffee
Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list by any means! There are many other brands with fair trade certification, and this list only scratches the surface of ethical shopping options.

To make sure you pick responsibly, always take a few moments before buying to ensure it meets your criteria for fairness. With an abundance of choices out there and each one conforming to high standards, you can confidently shop without worry!

Key Things to Consider When Shopping for Fair Trade Coffee Brands

If you want to make sure that the coffee beans you purchase are ethical and equitable, look for the Fair Trade label. The fair trade certified label verifies that strict standards of fairness have been maintained throughout production and trading processes. Other useful indicators when selecting a brand:
  • Select brands that source their coffee beans directly from local farmers and cooperatives to ensure the highest-quality flavor.
  • Organic coffee cultivation is not only beneficial for the environment, but it also safeguards farmers and workers from any detrimental effects of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic certification ensures that these efforts are being taken to create a healthier future for all.
  • To ensure sustainability and ethical practices, certain brands may possess additional certifications such as Rainforest Alliance, Smithsonian Bird Friendly or USDA Organic. These badges of distinction reveal just how dedicated these companies are to their environmental efforts.
If you want to learn more about the company’s sourcing and business practices, check out their website or reach out to them directly. Ultimately, selecting brands that are aligned with your values is an outstanding way to encourage sustainable farming methods while delighting in a delicious cup of coffee every day!

What Are the Differences Between Fair Trade and Direct Trade Coffee?

Both have the same goal - to boost the lives of farmers and encourage sustainable agriculture. But, there are several critical distinctions that separate them:

Fair Trade:

  • Fairtrade International and other third-party organizations certify Fair Trade coffee, making sure that fair prices, labor rights and environmental sustainability adhere to the highest standards.
  • By securing a minimum price for coffee farmers via Fairtrade, we can ensure that they earn enough to cover their production costs and receive a fair income.
  • By trading their coffee through cooperatives, farmers can ensure they gain ownership and control over their produce. Fair trade coffee is a perfect representation of this structure in practice.

Direct Trade:

  • External organizations do not set standards or scrutinize, as they do with other types of coffee.
  • Roasters and farmers can benefit from the advantages, as they engage in trading without needing to rely on intermediaries, such as cooperatives.
  • Coffee roasters and farmers benefit from better communication, strong relationships, and greater transparency in the supply chain - all of which provide higher earnings for farmers.
  • By trading coffee directly, roasters can take a more active role in ensuring the sustainability of coffee farms by engaging with farmers to promote better practices.
Each come with their own pros and cons. It’s up to the consumer to ultimately pick which one suits them most.

The Future of Coffee Is in Our Hands

Through fair and direct trade coffee, we can make a considerable difference in farmers’ lives, their communities, and the planet. By promoting payment of better wages and safe working conditions, it helps guarantee that growers can gain enough income to provide for their families and invest in their villages.

By investing in sustainable practices such as reforestation, fair trade contributes towards combating deforestation while preserving nature. Last, through offering access to learning prospects and clean water sources, this type of coffee can improve the quality of life significantly within rural areas.

You Can Make a Difference

If you want to make a positive impact on the world, why not start by promoting Fairtrade International certified products? By doing so, you can reward farmers for their hard work, trickling down to bettering their communities as well. Also, encourage your coffee shops and stores to carry fair trade items and join campaigns dedicated to its advocation. Together we can help create a better future!

Thank you for taking the time to understand how fair trade coffee contributes to bettering farmers’ lives, their communities, and our environment. Your efforts create a better future for everyone; making that already great coffee taste just a little sweeter.
Clint Doerfler
From a very young "growth-stunting" age, Clint Doerfler has had a deep-rooted love for coffee. As a result, he founded Coffee Gear Gurus® to share his passion for incredible home brewed coffee with others. When he's not watching true crime shows with family or playing music, he's devoted to helping fellow coffee feins make amazing coffee at home - regardless of their experience.
This article was last updated: February 24, 2023

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