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.

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.

Global Bachelors Gone Wild!

Bachelor and mail order bride on first dateReality shows are always super popular. People love reality shows because it gives them the chance to take a look inside the lives of other people and see what is going on in their life.

Reality shows are a lot of fun to watch and there are always new ones coming out all the time. If you’re a fan of reality TV, one of the new shows coming up that you’re sure to want to check out is Bachelors Abroad.

This show focuses around bachelors who travel to foreign countries to meet women. It shows them meeting the women and dating them, allowing you to see what happens, who meets up with who, who has an interest in who, and so on.

This show looks like it’s going to be a ton of fun to watch. This AFA reality show is particularly useful for anyone who is thinking about traveling elsewhere and hoping to fall in love. You can get some great tips, while having a fun time watching the show and seeing all the exciting things that go on.

If you want to keep up with all the latest from Bachelors Abroad – check out this page.

International Love Scout is one of the top International Dating sites on the web and will be blogging about the show in real time. Ed Orton, the owner of ILS will be analyzing the show, informing readers about the realities of pursuing so called “mail order brides”

See The World Thru Their Eyes

Bachelors abroad contestantThe bachelors travel everywhere from Eastern Europe to Latin America, Asia and more. Whether you live in one of these countries now, or you’re planning a trip there in the near future, it’s certainly a show worth watching.

The show features not only bachelors who are looking for a life partner, but also those who just want to have some fun. If this sounds like something that you would like to watch, stay tuned because the show will be airing its premiere episode soon.

Whether you’re a guy or girl, this show is sure to grab your attention. Stay tuned and watch out for this and other new reality shows for 2013. This is sure to be one of the most popular reality shows this year, you’re definitely going to be hearing lots more about it over the coming months.

This show is different in many ways than other reality shows, which is why so many people are going to be fitting in time to watch it and you can do the same.