Fair Trade Coffee – Is it Really Fair?

What Is Fair Trade Coffee?

The certification of “Fair Trade” is given by Fair Trade USA, which is a non-profit that has been giving certification to coffee since 1998. Since then, they have been granting certification to several other types of products, such as spices, teas, chocolate and more.

The logo to the right was redesigned in 2012, and it is used for identifying products that are certified. There are organizations that exist for Fair Trade in other countries.

Though Fair Trade USA is a non-profit organization, it is a sustainable organization. Much of the revenue that goes through Fair Trade USA is from the service fees that are paid by retailers. Retailers only are required to pay 10 cents in fees for each pound of Fair Trade coffee that they sell in the USA.

This amount helps Fair Trade USA to promote the brand further. For this reason, some people in the the coffee world have claimed that Fair Trade USA is mainly an organization for marketing.

The organization had a budget of $10 billion in 2009, and 70 percent of this came from the aforementioned fees. The other 30 percent was from contributions from philanthropists, who were mainly private donors and through foundation grants.

The Beginnings of Fair Trade

Fair trade is a concept that has been around for a long time, since individuals began to exchange items with one another. Throughout history, it has been the case that trade has not been fair always. During the 16th century until the late 18th century, there was a nationalistic mercantile system in place in Western Europe to enrich their economic status. The Dutch East India Company was operating to benefit the mother country, and because of this they were given monopoly privileges. The company also was protected by tariffs.

These conditions led to trade being anything but fair. The local workers were made to work long hours under unfavorable conditions, through indentured servitude or slavery. Religious and non-governmental organizations, including SERRV International and many others, worked to create supply chains that were more fair to producers in the 1940s and 1950s.

Many of the producers handcrafted several types of goods. The fair trade movement really started to gain momentum in the 1960s. Multinational corporations and industrialized countries were criticized at this time for using power to enrich their own interests to the detriment of the less wealthy countries and producers. Coffee producers were at the top of this list.

How Fair Trade Coffee Can Be Problematic

Coffee has been valuable to many countries’ economies. Countries that are among the least developed, such as Burundi, have foreign exchange earnings of up to 80 percent for the cultivation of coffee. There are a majority of workers who are dependent on coffee in the developing countries of Colombia, Mexico, and Indonesia, among others.

Coffee is one of the more valuable products when it comes to world trade. However, coffee is often times a crop that is quite labor intensive, though it financially yields relatively little return.

One-fifth of the coffee in the world is consumed by the USA. This makes it the largest consumer of coffee in the whole world. Not many Americans know that the coffee industry workers often are in “field sweatshops”. Small coffee farmers typically have a tough time, and may end up being in a cycle of poverty and debt.

The confidence is slipping for Fair Trade coffee. This is due to the fact that the strict requirements for certification result in uneven economic advantages. It also means that the quality of coffee ends up being lower.

Fair trade coffee is important because it is the second most valuable commodity that is being exported out of developing countries. Exports in coffee make up a huge share of export earnings for countries such as Guatemala and Honduras. This is why fair trade should be focused on throughout the world.

The Benefits of Fair Trade

Fair Trade standards include the following:

  • Producer organizations receive a minimum price of 1.40 per pound in US dollars for washed Arabica and US 1.35 for Arabica that is unwashed, or the market price if it is higher.
  • There is a differential US 30 cents per pound minimum for Fair Trade coffee that has been certified organic.
  • A Premium of US 20 cents (and 5 cents for quality and productivity improvements) per pound will be added to the purchase price to be used by the producer organizations for the purpose of investing in economic and social enterprises at the organizational and community levels.
  • Only the small farmer organizations may receive Fair Trade coffee certification. This means that they are required to own and govern organizations.
  • Everyone has an equal right to vote, as there is democratic decision making in place.
  • Agrochemical use is restricted, and sustainability is being encouraged on a higher level.
  • Producer organizations have access to pre-export lines of credit. Up to 60 percent of the purchase price may be pre-financed, if requested.
  • More fair negotiations, a reduction in speculation, and a clarified price fixing role are being encouraged.

Fair Trade regulations and rules have been fairly static over time. Greater consumer awareness has always been pushed by Fair Trade USA. Today, 50 percent of American households have knowledge of Fair Trade coffee compared to 9 percent in 2005.

Aging and Mental Health: Depression or Memory Loss

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 20% of persons over 55 years of age have some kind of mental health concern or issue. The top mental health concerns for people over 55 include:

1) some form of anxiety disorder,

2) cognitive impairment (thinking and problem solving) and

3) some form of mood disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder etc.

Older men are at higher risk for suicide than older women and younger men. The highest rate of suicide is among men 85 years and older. The rate is 45.21/100,000 as opposed to a rate of 11.01/100,000 for all ages.
Mental Health Information: Depression

It is important for people to know and understand that depression is not a normal part of the aging process. Just because someone is aging does not mean they will become depressed. Depression is a mental health disorder, not an aging disorder.

An ageing individual, who is suffering with depression, may exhibit symptoms such as: physical complaints and ailments, complaints about mental health problems and exhibit a decrease in social interest and functioning.

Although it appears depression increases with the ageing process, acquiring depression as one ages is not inevitable. It has been found that 80% of cases of depression in the ageing population is treatable. This means that ageing people do not have to live with the mental health issue of depression. This is the crux of the problem though; depression is under-recognized in the aging population and thus it goes under-treated.

Mental Health Information: Depression and Medical Conditions

It is very common to find depression in the ageing population who have other health conditions and illness. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s disease are often found to co-exist in aging persons who have depression. This seems to be logical because many ageing individuals have, or are trying to prevent ,these kinds of diseases.

Unfortunately many health care professionals do not understand that depression is not a part of these conditions and illnesses, but a separate unique mental health issue in and of itself. The feeling that the symptoms of depression are a part of the medical condition is also widely held among aging individuals. This is often the reason why they do not seek help from qualified mental health professionals.

Not treating depression causes serious issues related to recovery and healing from medical conditions and illness. Untreated depression even has the potential to worsen the ultimate effect of other illnesses.

Aging and Mental Health: Depression or Memory Loss

Another complication of ageing and depression is determining whether a memory loss is related to the ageing process, to Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia, or to depression. One of the classic symptoms of depression is having a problem with concentration. The inability to concentrate causes issues related to being able to focus, difficulty in making decisions and the ability to remember (memory).

Aging and Mental Health: How to Help

If you know an ageing person who is feeling helpless and hopeless, has lost interest in daily life and activities, is exhibiting a change in appetite and weight, sleeps more or less, is irritable or restless, has less energy, doesn’t like themselves, is unable to concentrate and complains of aches and pains, you are looking depression in the face.

Get them help.

Unique Things to Do for Our Soldiers on Veterans Day

Remember a Veteran or Service Member on November 11

Veteran’s Day is a time to honor our dedicated military Service Members. Veteran’s Day was originally named as a holiday to honor the end of World War I. Many Americans confuse Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, but there is a distinct difference.

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have died serving our country. Veteran’s Day was named to not only honor deceased Veteran’s, but to thank living Veteran’s for their service in both wartime and peacetime.

Military.com has launched several new web sites to help Americans stay connected and honor Veterans and Service Members on Veteran’s Day.

In addition to the many community and national ceremonies taking place on Veteran’s Day and posted on the Veteran’s Day web page, there are some unique things you can do to honor a Veteran or a Service Member on November 11.

Send an eCard on Veteran’s Day or Other Holidays

Military.com has launched a web site for Veteran’s Day, November 11th. The site offers a unique selection of eCards to email to a Veteran or Service Member and their spouses.

The selection includes eCards for other holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Thank You cards for military spouses.

On Veteran’s Day: Help a Veteran or Service Member Get a Job

You can help a Veteran or Service Member prepare a resume, prepare to interview, and suggest job hunting and networking tasks.

In a report released November 5th by Military.com, a member of the Monster Worldwide network, 81% of service members being released from the military say they are not prepared to enter the civilian workforce.

Service members feel they do not have adequate skills to negotiate salary and benefits, professionally network, or effectively communicate their military skills into civilian skills.

In the same report, 61% of employers say they do not fully understand the qualifications of Veterans.

Send a Military Exchange Global Prepaid Phone Card to Troops on Veteran’s Day

You can arrange to send a prepaid phone card, including a card that allows Service Members to call home for two hours from Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait.

To send a phone card to any Service Member on Veteran’s Day, call 800-527-2345 or visit www.aafes.org.

Thank a Military Spouse on Veteran’s Day

SpouseBuzz is a blog for military spouses on the newly launched Military Spouse Network, sponsored by Military.com. It is the largest social network for military spouses, which includes 400,000 military spouses worldwide.

Military.com has over 8 million members and has almost 8 million unique visitors each month. Blog for Veteran’s, Service Members, and their spouses on Veteran’s Day by posting a thank you message at SpouseBuzz.

Send a Thank You or Holiday Card to a Service Member on Veteran’s Day

You can send a Christmas card, Thanksgiving card, or Thank You card to any wounded Service Member to let them know we care. Address the card to:

Any Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Visit Military.com’s Veteran Day Website for More Local Activities

Whether you home school, teach in a classroom, or a caring parent, teach your children about Veteran’s Day using the many resource guides at the new Veteran’s Day web site.

You can find a history of Veteran’s Day, a Veteran’s Day poster, and ways your children can thank a Veteran or Service Member. Teach your children about Veteran’s in your family and the importance of honoring those who serve our country to protect our freedoms.

Looking For A Job In Modern Times

looking-for-a-job

In these modern times, there are so many ways that recruiters can get prospective employees. However, the concept of a job headhunter is still new and foreign to some people. A job headhunter is a firm or group of people whose major job is to look for employees for another organisation. In essence they are executive recruiters of a kind and can exist in two forms. The retained executives or the contingency job headhunters are the two kinds.

Differences in the two categories

The retained executive recruiters are paid some fee even before the employee is recruited. These recruiters are used to recruit high end employees like company executives, managers and directors. The contingency recruiters only receive their fee when the employee is employed in the organisation.

They can therefore be used even for low paying positions like the entry level positions in any company. On important point to note is that these recruiters usually use your networks to get to you and the jobs they recruit for and rarely advertised.

Do you need a job headhunter?

Well, this will entirely depend on the position you are seeking and the industry in question. Some industries like those involved in biotechnology have used this method a lot in the past. Some industries may be reluctant to use this method and therefore this should be your concern.

If you are looking for a job, it is advisable to diversify on the options that you have. Well, it will not hurt to use a job headhunter but I would suggest not using it as the mutually exclusive method of looking for a job.

For those in low level positions, you will need a lot of diversification since most companies are only willing to spend a considerable amount of money in recruiting high end employees who will add value to their organisations from the beginning of the contract. In addition headhunter jobs usually tend to favour people with experience.

This does not mean that if you have not accumulated the relevant kind of experience, you cannot get jobs through them.

If you’ve having trouble getting the attention of headhunters one of the best things you can do it optimize your LinkedIn Profile.  In Greig Wells book “LinkedIn Insider Secrets” he teaches you exactly how to do this.

You can make sure that your profile comes up in many more LinkedIn search results.  This will cause the headhunters scouring your industry to come across your profile and resume first.  This is one of the surest ways to get the right kind of attention when trying to find a new position.

Contacting job headhunters

Greig Wells Linkedin expert

First, it is possible for you to contact these recruiters on yourself especially if your Curriculum Vitae is not in any public domain like LinkedIn. However, before you contact them, you will need to do a very thorough revision of your CV, cover letter and ensure that you have all your credentials ready.

Your CV should be as detailed as possible including all the publications you have so far. It should also include a thorough outline of what you have to offer for a specific field.

You will also need to identify a specific field where you will work that matches your skills very well. This field should be the area you have specialized with or the area within which you would like to specialize. You will also need to identify a possible geographical location where you would like to work.

This will enable the recruiters to match you with a job in that area if it comes up. You will also need to identify factors that will enhance or limit your mobility if need be. These may be allergies to certain climatic conditions, family ties or any other reason whatsoever.

You should ensure that you provide a valid email address, telephone numbers or any other form of contact that they can use to reach you either during office hours or at home. Even of the firm does not have any job that matches your skills, once your CV is in their database, there will be other chances of being matched with a potential employer.

They may also help you in knowing what companies require so that you will be ready with all the information if a potential employer contacts you.

Other options

As said earlier, job headhunters are not the only option you have for finding a job. LinkedIn, Professional network allows you to interact with fellow colleagues in your industry as well as find jobs. There is a page where all potential employers post the vacancies in their firms and you are free to apply through LinkedIn of you qualify.

The employer may also contact you upon seeing your profile on Linked In and therefore it is important to have a profile that portrays all the skills you have, the level of experience and the kind of positions you are seeking for if you are seeking to change your current job.

Linked In also helps you to learn more about the companies you may wish to work with in future which may be very useful during the recruitment process.

In addition, the professionals in your networks may refer or recommend you to a specific company of they become aware of any job opening. Therefore, you need to create a positive image and rapport with the people in your network.

Besides Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks are very important for people actively seeking for employment. Most employers will post a link on their pages for potential employees to apply the job. Career portals are also an important way to know of all the vacancies in your industry.

Some firms will even use print media like newspapers or Television and Radio advertisements to attract potential employees.

Finding a job is a very tiring affair for some people but the more aggressive you are in seeking these opportunities, the better your chances of landing a good job. There are instances when you may be lucky and you get a job very fast.

At other times, you will need to practice patience and diversify your options for that rewarding opportunity to come through. Keep looking for a job in all the online and offline career portals or pages and you will not regret it.

Examining Luxury Condominiums

beautiful luxury condominiumMany people want to live a life of luxury. The desire runs deep in most people. Even though most people are more than willing to live a life of quiet mediocrity, they secretly long for something better.

While it is true that no one can get everything they want, people who have enough money in their bank account may be able to afford luxury condominiums.

Experts may not agree on what this means, exactly, but it does not matter. There are times when luxury depends on the person buying the product.

Sometimes luxury may mean certain amenities such as a stove or a microwave. Many people want tennis courts, pools, and some places even have a well-stocked fishing pond.

When someone first goes to buy a condominium, he wants more than just the building itself. Technically, an individual is only buying a building and not the property, but this is a different issue. He also wants the development to be in an area that is a good neighborhood and close to shopping.

There may or may not be a gated community involved. There certainly does not have to be.

Any home buyer will insist on seeing the building before he makes a decision to purchase one. This is simply good policy. The cursory home inspection allows the buyer to spot any problems a person might have with the home.

Someone who commits to buying the condominium will have a home inspector go through the property later. The home inspector will spot problems that an individual may not realize.

If someone does not wish to Buy A Luxury Condominium, he does not have to do so. There are many rental properties that fall into this category.

If someone just wants to get away for a vacation, all he has to do is find an apartment he can rent that is in the area he wants to visit. This may take some time. Luxury condominiums are not normally advertised in the local newspaper.

They are often advertised on specialty sites and in vacation magazines. The traveler needs to find them on his own.