Coffee – Fair Trade Certified

Posted on: January 2nd, 2013 by admin No Comments

Fair Trade’s mission is quite simple; quality products through improved lives and protecting the planet.  Fair Trade is primarily concerned with alleviating poverty through greater equity in international trade; many products besides coffee are Fair Trade certified.

Fair Trade is governed mostly by the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO). In the U.S., it is governed by Fair Trade USA, which resigned from the international system in early 2012. Fair Trade certifications under the FLO, are only available to democratically-organized cooperatives of small producers, not individually-owned farms, estates, or farms that use hired labor. Fair Trade cooperatives receive a minimum price per pound and a premium if the coffee is also certified organic. How this price premium is distributed to the farmers or to community projects, etc. is up to the cooperative.

Under Fair Trade USA, independent small producers and estates can gain certification.

Currently, both Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade International use similar certification standards:

  • both do not have criteria related to growing coffee under shade
  • Both have standards regarding wildlife that are relatively generic
  •  Neither require organic certification
  •  Both organizations charge producers an annual auditing fee.

The Fair Trade certifications offer a general and relative assurance to retailers and consumers that Fair Trade producers in the developing world are getting a fair deal for their work.