Fair Trade and Organic Coffee
What is Fair Trade?
You might be wondering what Fair Trade coffee is. Fair Trade is a movement that promotes fair pay and ethical treatment for producer groups in developing countries when they export their goods to the developed world. It is regulated by a set of standards set in place by non-profit, third party fair trade associations who award certifications to companies that adhere to the 10 principles of fair trade.
10 Principles of Fair Trade
1. Create employment opportunities in the developing world.
2. Practice transparency in communication and take accountability in actions.
3. Focus on improving the lives of producers through long-term agreements and interest-free cash advances.
4. Pay a fair wage to producer groups promptly and in the amount previously agreed upon by both parties.
5. Prohibit the use of child labor and forced labor.
6. Do not discriminate based on race, caste, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, HIV/Aids status, or age.
7. Maintain safe and healthy working conditions.
8. Foster independence for producer groups by encouraging them to improve their internal management skills and access new markets.
9. Promote fair trade by raising awareness of the issues in the developing world and how ethical trade can improve the lives of producers.
10. Respect the environment by using responsible production methods.
Why is Fair Trade important?
It supports producers with a minimum three-year commitment, guidance on improving crops, livable wages, human rights education, and safe working conditions. It provides new markets that command higher prices for goods. Fair Trade distributors work directly with the farmer which means more money in the farmer’s pocket.
Second only to oil, coffee is the commodity with the highest volume being exported to the developed world. The high demand for coffee in North America and Europe creates an opportunity for farmers in developing countries to export their coffee. But it also means that is up to us as consumers to be aware of where our coffee comes from.
For more information about Fair Trade please visit www.fairtradeusa.org.
Organic and Environmentally Friendly Coffee
Grim Bean supports ecological and environmental standards and is proud to offer organic and other environmentally friendly certifications.
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center Certification
Our Guatemalan coffee beans are Bird-Friendly Certified by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. This is the only true “shade grown” certification. The criteria includes a canopy at least 12 meters high with the dominant tree species being native, a minimum of 40% shade cover even after pruning, at least two strata or layers of vegetation, made up of at least 10 woody species dispersed throughout the production area. Additionally, the coffee must also be certified organic. Once this certification is granted, farmers can negotiate a better (higher) price for their coffee beans. In addition, higher prices are charged to importers and roasters and these fees directly support bird conservation research.
This alliance promotes standards for sustainability including sustainable agriculture programs. While this is not a single environmental certification, it covers a number of ecological issues and community relations, including fair treatment of workers.
Grim Bean offers both USDA certified organic and world certified organic coffee. This coffee must be produced under specific standards such as no use of prohibited substances on the land for at least three years including most synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Coffee crops must have a buffer between coffee trees and any other plant not grown organically. In addition, farmers must have a plan in place to demonstrate methods that prevent soil erosion.
UTZ – Note that Rainforest Alliance and UTZ will be merging at the end of 2017.
UTZ (formerly Utz Kapeh and UTZ Certified Good Inside) certifies several agricultural products including coffee. Their emphasis is on transparency and traceability in the supply chain and efficient farm management. The latter includes good agricultural practices such as soil erosion prevention, minimizing water use and pollution, responsible use of chemicals, and habitat protection.
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