Fairtrade. The term, the idea tugs at our heart. We all want to be fair. We all want to trade honestly and ethically, we all want to help the little guy, we all want to . . .
SCREEEEEEECCCH . . . uh-oh, this webpage has just been hijacked. Get ready for reality.
See, we used to buy into all the feel-good FAIRTRADE (one word) mumbo-jumbo, marketing baloney before we started roasting coffee. It was then we started to find out the truth. Up until then we thought we were being really caring and concerned and responsible consumers. And then we started doing some research. Boy were we wrong
Basically, as with so many things in life, what started off as good, went bad. What started off to help the little guy, now mainly, or only, benefits the big guys (you know, the big corporate coffee roasters).
I could go on. Boy could I go on . . . and on . . . and on . . .
To be clear, we are absolutely for FAIR TRADE (two words) but we aren’t happy at all with FAIRTRADE. In fact the whole Fairtrade ‘thing’, and what it has become, kind of makes us sick because so many uninformed people have bought into it. So we’re really happy that you’ve taking time to look into why we (and a whole lot of other people) think the way we do.
Well, I was thinking about telling you what we’ve learned about Fairtrade (and the Rainforest Alliance, and the Forest Stewardship Council, and trust me, the list goes on and on, and you guessed it, filthy lucre is at the bottom of it all. As my good old dad used to tell me, “Always follow the money!” So if you’re ready to follow the money I’ll stop and give you a few links to follow. Read these articles and you’ll probably never look at the Fairtrade logo the same way again.
I’m sorry to say it but get ready to be disillusioned . . . . .
This article is a good place to start . . . (cut and past these links into your browser window) http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/05/14/lawrence-solomon-fair-trade-coffee-producers-often-end-up-poorer/
And here’s something much more recent — things haven’t gotten any better . . . http://dailycoffeenews.com/2013/02/12/the-failure-of-fair-trade-and-four-steps-moving-forward/
And this is the first of a multi-part video series that could be a real eye-opener for you. You’ll find the links to the other three videos with the first video . . . http://dailycoffeenews.com/2013/01/07/new-video-series-fair-trade-chronicles-intro-video/
These folks aren’t afraid to speak their mind . . . http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/4-reasons-why-fair-trade-coffee-scam/
And finally I started a topic on the Coffee Forums website about this subject and got amazing comments from lots of industry people. Here’s the link to that: http://www.coffeeforums.com/forum/coffee-industry-forum/9575-fairtrade-coffee-really-fairly-traded-coffee.html
I was going to start on the Rainforest Alliance next but hopefully I’ve awoken the cynic in you. Question everything. Even that cute and adorable little green frog. Maybe he’s hiding something. Do you think it’s possible? Well, do a little digging and see what you come up with. Check out their annual report and see where all their money is going. Man, the execs at Rainforest Alliance sure do travel a lot! Do you think they stay in Travelodge hotels when they are on the road or something a bit more upscale? Do you think they fly coach or maybe, just maybe something a bit more lavish than economy class?
Dig a bit and let us know what you come up with. Then keep digging. I think you’ll find that my dad was on to something with that “follow the money” thing.