As you may have seen on our website/bags/cards etc. we mention the fact that our coffees are ‘sustainably and ethically sourced’. However we make no mention of fair trade, although some of our coffees are fairtrade certified, so this blog should hopefully clear things up a bit!
One of the biggest issues we have with the concept of buying only fair trade certified coffees is that for various reasons there are some great coffee producers out there who not only grow great tasting coffees but also look after their workers and the land they work on however they aren’t registered with fair trade. This can be for any number of reasons, from not wanting to pay the certification fees to the fact that they already get a good price for their coffee so there’s no need for them to go through the process.
The way we deal with this is through the relationship we have with our importers and the relationship they in turn have with the coffee producers. They regularly make visits to the farms or cooperatives they buy their coffee from, not only to check up on the coffee they are buying but also the welfare of the workers. Alongside that they ensure that they pay over the minimum price set by the fair trade organisation. Because at the end of the day their own business relies on them being able to buy top quality coffee, if they buy the coffee too cheaply then the farms can’t keep the skilled workers they need to grow the quality coffee that their customers require.
This is in no way knocking what fair trade does, it’s just that in some cases it is not the best way.