The Price of
By Nate Daubert Ever since Jesuit monks brought coffee to Guatemala three centuries ago, raising the beans has been a losing business for small farmers. The conditions are miserable, and coffee farmers, on average, do not earn enough money to support their families. This is where fair trade comes into play. Fair trade is a social movement and market-based approach that helps farmers in developing countries have better trading condition and promote environmentally safe farming practices.
The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards. It focuses mainly on exports from developing countries to developed countries (i.e. coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, wine, gold, etc.) Fair Trade International (FLO) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Bonn, Germany that oversees fair trade certification and makes sure that small farmers are treated according to standards. FLO labels the minimum price, directy to the farmer, per pound of coffee at $1.26, 3-4 times
the average of non fair trade coffee. $1.26 may not sound like a lot for a pound of coffee beans, but it’s making a huge impact. Not only are farmers earning more to support their families, but also the environment is not taking the same toll as it was before. (There is a list of strict environmental standards co-ops, groups of farmers, must live by in order to keep fair trade certification.) Fair trade coffee is making its way into mainstream culture. Starbucks coffee is 10% fair trade in the U.S. and across Europe all espresso is fair trade.
Chicago is taking a fair trade initiative as well. In February 2010, Chicago signed to become a “Fair Trade City”, meaning it needed to meet the following criteria: 1• The City Council supporting fair trade and encouraging use of FT products will pass a resolution. 2• Fair Trade products will be available throughout the city, at least 1 outlet in each of the 77 Communities. Based on population of about 3 million, we want 1 outlet per 10,000 people, that is 300 outlets in the City FULL BLEED
3• Fair Trade products will be used in institutions such as congregations schools, universities, hospitals and workplaces, with at least 1 FT institution in each of Chicago’s 77 communities. 4• This Campaign will bring increased media attention to Fair Trade and broaden support for Fair Trade by the City.
As of April 2011, Chicago has nearly reached fair trade status and FT coffee can now be purchased around the city at 309* retailers and served in 208 institutions. Chicago has met or exceeded every goal on their list except having
260 fair trade institutions, they are just 52 short. Chicago can only do so much as a city, however. The citizens need to take initiative as well in their personal lives. Since fair trade coffee cuts out the
middleman, it costs about the same as regular, about $6 a bag for good quality coffee. *Find your closest retailer online at: www. chicagofairtrade.org/buyft/ locate
Have you heard of Fair Trade?
5• Chicago Fair Trade is a coalition of businesses, faith organizations, universities, non-profits and individuals who will continue to steer the process.
A survey of RMU students and their knowledge of Fair Trade 11% 21%
VOLUME 5 • ISSUE 5 • MONTH 2011
Photos by: Jake Liefer, John Barrie, Dave Gaffigan
Yes, but I don’t know what it is.
Yes, and I use fair trade products
Yes, but I have never used it.
No, I have never heard of it.
name of article