Fair Trade certification focuses on labor and trade standards to provide small-farmer co-operatives a guaranteed price above the “conventional” market. Certified organic producers of Fair Trade coffee currently receive at least $1.55/lb.
This is ridiculous. $1.55 a pound? Even in poor economies, $1.55 is just terrible. It is time these certificates are exposed for what they are, scams. Fair Trade, Organic. These are labels that big coffee conglomerates like to throw around and proudly display in various banners, window fronts, pamphlets, and TV ads. To let you know they care, they supply you “Fair Trade” coffee, they have done everything they can to help the poor farmers who produce this great coffee.
I know most of you see coffee as only one small slice of your life, and you are right. It is only coffee Mac, relax… But this serves as one great example of corporate greed pulling the covers over consumers. You pay a lot of money to feel good about buying “Fair Trade” beans, but you are really just paying a lot of money to some guy in Manhattan who paid attention in his college Marketing class. He created a position for himself where he hands out paper or even digital labels for tons of money. He has not done anything else. Genius.
It is only coffee, but then ask yourself, what other things do we consume that have built-in “taxes” to help keep rich people… well, rich? Tip of the iceberg, my friends, tip of the iceberg.
So, it is not fair of me to just slam the “Fair Trade” process without offering up an alternative. So far, all I have is the improvement of the Direct Trade process. Although it too has issues in the areas of transparency, I believe that Direct Trade could be the answer in the near future. I will get into Direct Trade points and counterpoints at some point if you care to listen.
Next up: Being certified “Organic”. This is seriously ridiculous.
Good night, I am off the soap box for now.