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fair trade coffee

Fair trade coffee is a business model that works to ensure equitable opportunities for producers of coffee in developing countries. Through Fair Trade, farmers receive fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, and are treated with respect throughout the supply chain. By purchasing Fair Trade certified coffee, consumers can contribute to building better livelihoods for small-scale farmers and their families, and to ensuring that coffee production is done in an ethical, sustainable way.

Fair Trade certified coffee is designed to provide a premium for social development projects in coffee-producing communities, such as improving housing conditions and access to education. All of this helps farmers earn a more secure income and break the cycle of poverty.

By buying Fair Trade coffee, consumers can enjoy a cup of coffee knowing that their purchase is making a positive impact on the lives of farmers around the world. It’s also an easy way to support sustainable and ethical practices in the coffee supply chain. With every cup of Certified Fair Trade Coffee you purchase, you are contributing to a better future for coffee-farming communities around the globe.

How Buying Certified Fair Trade Coffee Can Make a Difference

  • Farmers receive higher wages, improving their quality of life.
  • Coffee production is done in an ethical and sustainable way.
  • Premiums are provided for social development projects in coffee-producing communities.
  • It’s an easy way to support sustainable and ethically sound practices in the coffee supply chain.


How to Support Sustainable and Ethical Practices in the Coffee Supply Chain

  • Look for labels such as “Fair Trade Certified” or “Rainforest Alliance Certified.”
  • Buy organic coffee, which is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides.
  • Support small-scale farmers by buying direct trade coffee.
  • Research the company you are purchasing from to ensure they are ethically sourcing their beans.
  • Join campaigns advocating for better working conditions in coffee production facilities around the world.
  • Ask your favorite cafes and restaurants to stock only Fair Trade Certified Coffee beans.
  • Educate yourself and those around you about the importance of fair trade practices in the global coffee market.

By supporting sustainable and ethical practices in the coffee supply chain, you can help ensure farmers in developing countries are treated fairly and that the environment is being cared for. Your small contribution to the Fair Trade movement will make a big difference!

Roasters that use Fair Trade Coffee Beans

  • Grounds for Change is a coffee company  that is 100% Fair Trade Certified and certified organic.
  • The Ethical Bean Coffee Company provides a wide selection of direct trade, organic, and Fair Trade certified coffees.
  • Groundwork Organic Coffee sources their beans from small family farms and cooperatives that meet the strict requirements for certification as organic and/or Fair Trade.
  • Café Altura is an environmentally-friendly coffee company that offers high-quality organic and 100% Fair Trade Certified products.
  • Keurig Dr Pepper has recently announced its commitment to helping farmers in developing countries by sourcing only Fair Trade certified coffee beans for its Keurig brands.
  • Allegro Coffee is a subsidiary of Whole Foods Market and sources only Fair Trade Certified coffees from around the world. Rishi Tea & Botanicals offers organic and Fair Trade certified tea, as well as coffees from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
  • Alterra Coffee Roasters is a company that sources high-quality coffees from around the world, and has made a commitment to source only Fair Trade Certified beans.
  • The Starbucks Coffee Company is committed to ethical sourcing and has been sourcing coffee through Fairtrade International since 1998.
  • Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company  is a company that sources Fair Trade Certified beans from all over the world.
  • Bird Rock Coffee Roasters  sources their coffee beans from around the world and is committed to sourcing only Fair Trade Certified coffees.
  • Atlas Coffee Importers works with small farmers in producing countries to source high-quality, ethically sourced coffees. They are also a member of the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO).
  • Laughing Man Coffee & Tea Company is a coffee company  that sources their coffee beans from Fair Trade Certified farmers. They also donate a percentage of their profits to charity.
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters works with local farmers and cooperatives around the world to source 100% certified organic coffees and teas, as well as those that are certified by Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International, and UTZ Certified.
  • PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.  is a specialty coffee roaster that sources Fair Trade Certified and Organic coffees from producers in Africa, Central America, and South America.

These are just a few of the many companies that offer fair trade certified coffee beans. By supporting these suppliers, you can help ensure farmers in developing countries receive a fair price for their product while protecting the environment and promoting sustainable agriculture practices. Thank you for your support!

The Partnership for Global Justice works with local organizations to promote fair trade standards throughout the coffee industry. They work to build capacity and provide support for small-scale coffee producers in developing countries. By choosing to purchase Fair Trade Certified products, you are doing your part in making the world a better place – one cup at a time! Thank you for your commitment to sustainability and ethical practices in the global coffee market. Your contribution matters! 

fair trade coffee

Criticisms of Fair Trade Coffee

Misses the Mark

Colleen Haight of the Stanford Innovation Review argues that fair trade coffee is merely a way to market the idea of ethical consumerism. She suggests that the decision to purchase fair trade coffee is largely based on marketing and packaging, with emphasis placed on the feel-good factor of making “socially responsible” choices.

Also, fair trade does not guarantee sustainable farming practices or access to adequate resources for farming. Companies that certify their coffee as “fair trade” may not take into account the environmental impacts of their production methods, such as deforestation and soil erosion. This means that while the farmers are able to receive better wages, they are still subject to long-term environmental degradation.

Critics also argue that fair trade does not always lead to better working conditions for farmers or improved wages, as intended. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that, for many farmers, fair trade coffee does not lead to significantly higher incomes. This is due to the fact that benefits are often returned in-kind, such as access to credit rather than higher wages.

Certification Favors Large Corporate Farms

Many complain that the certification processes used by fair trade organizations are inadequate and easily manipulated. This means that, in some cases, products labeled “fair trade” do not actually meet the standards of the organization certifying them. This can lead to lower quality coffee or products that have not been harvested in accordance with fair trade practices.

Also, the certification costs for fair trade coffee are high and often passed onto the producer, making it much more difficult for small farmers to participate. Furthermore, the increased costs may not be worth it for the small farmers in terms of quality and quantity of sales. As a result, only large producers are able to benefit from fair trade certification. This means that those who need help the most may be excluded from the benefits of fair trade.

Market Regulation:

Some scholars are concerned of the artificial stimulation of coffee production, especially since worldwide demand for coffee is relatively inelastic. This could lead to a glut of coffee on the market, driving down prices and, in turn, wages for farmers. This could actually make the situation worse for producers, rather than better.

Some suggest that the fair trade system is too bureaucratic and rigid. This makes it difficult for farmers to take advantage of emerging markets or respond quickly to changes in demand. As a result, some argue that the current system does not provide sufficient flexibility for farmers to succeed in an ever-changing market.


While there are criticisms of fair trade coffee and other products, it remains a popular choice for consumers looking to make ethical purchases. It is important, though, to understand all aspects of the system in order to make an informed decision. Ultimately, fair trade may not be the panacea it seems to be on the surface, but it can still play an important role in helping to support sustainable and ethical practices. Supporters point to studies that have found positive effects on rural communities in developing countries as evidence of this.

However, it is important to note that the effects of fair trade may not necessarily be positive in every situation. It is important to consider all aspects, including the costs and benefits, before investing in or purchasing fair trade products.  Ultimately, it should be an informed decision that takes into account the local context and individual circumstances of each producer and consumer.


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