5 Reasons why you should buy Fair Trade Coffee
You’ll have no doubt heard lots of buzz created by marketing companies encouraging people to buy Fair Trade and Organic products, but what exactly does the Fair Trade certification mean, and how does the movement behind it ensure that the beans which reach your coffee cup have been harvested using only sustainable and ethical practices?
In this article we take a quick look at what the Fair Trade movement is, and give you reasons why you should be buying its coffee, despite the fact that it might be more expensive than your regular beans.
So what is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a movement which aims to protect farm owners and small food producers in developing countries from a volatile global market, by increasing their profitability and financial situation. It ensures the local communities involved with the growing processes are honoured and compensated fairly, and it also has strict policies to guarantee protection of the local natural environment, as well as promoting trade fairness and sustainability in the areas it works in.
Many products eligible for certification by Fair Trade are commodities such as fruit and textiles, but today we’ll be focusing on just coffee and how Fair Trade certification impacts the lives of those people growing it (and those buying it!). The list below will give you some excellent reasons why you should change your buying habits to include the purchase of Fair Trade Coffee.
1. It’s great for the environment
Fair Trade certified growers eliminate the use of harmful pesticides and other toxic chemicals which are found in many consumer products today which do absolutely no good to the environment. In addition, farmers growing Fair Trade Coffee use sustainable production methods to help prevent further damage to the atmosphere.
2. Nobody gets ripped of
The International Fair Trade Labelling Organisation has set a base price for certified Fair Trade Coffee, which means that the workers producing the beans cannot be exploited by corporations and it ensures they receive a fair price for their work. It also means that you, the consumer, are not cheated by being asked to pay over the odds.
3. It builds the local Community
Fair Trade certifying organisations encourage farmers who have small plots to group together and run organisations democratically. Being larger helps them to buy and distribute supplies, and gives them an opportunity to negotiate better prices; helping them financially as well as helping to build relationships in the community. Many of these Fair Trade growers are also reinvesting money back into their local communities, through healthcare, schooling and housing schemes.
4. It preserves biodiversity
If you buy Fair Trade Coffee you will be playing your part in helping to preserve some of the last remaining bird habitats in places like Mexico and Columbia. Organic Fair Trade Coffee plantations in South America are the only home to these endangered habitats, whereas mass-produced coffee plantations rob birds of their natural habitat in a way which makes it uninhabitable for many species. Studies show that Fair Trade plantations contain up to 95% more bird life than regular plantations.
5. It’s better for your taste buds and your health
This may be last but it certainly is not least. In fact, it’s the point which affects you personally the most.
The demand for coffee worldwide is increasing, meaning the methods to grow as much coffee as quickly as possible leads to much lower-quality produce. Mass produced coffee is grown unnaturally quickly, with regular chemical fertilising and pesticide use. Not only does this mean than the beans lose their nutrients, it also means you’re drinking those very chemicals the plants used to enable them to grow.
Organically grown Fair Trade Coffee never uses any of these nasties, and what’s more, it tastes better too! This is because the plants the beans come from create soil that can hold its complex nutrient base. Nutrients are then slowly fed back into the beans which adds a smooth, robust flavour which is missing in mass produced coffee.
So whilst it may be true that Fair Trade Coffee will cost you a few extra pounds each week, surely that’s a price worth paying to not only ensure you’re protecting yourself and your personal health, but also helping farmers and workers from very underprivileged countries, whilst also getting a better tasting coffee! What more could you ask?