9 Reasons Why Fair Trade Coffee Is Worth Buying

Have you ever wondered what that little Fair Trade or Fair Trade International label on your coffee bag means, and why Fair Trade coffee? 

Why Fair Trade Coffee
When you choose to buy Fair Trade coffee, you are helping these farmers improve their lives

Do you ever wonder about the journey of the coffee beans as you enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee? And how did that delicious flavor end up in your cup from just a bean on a tree? It’s all thanks to the farmers working very hard at the beginning of that journey.

We at Full Coffee Roast believe in buying beans through Fair Trade — this ensures that you would always know where the coffee is grown, who grew it, and the benefits they receive from this type of trade.

There is no doubt that Fair Trade benefits small farmers. When you choose to buy Fair Trade coffee, you are helping these farmers improve their lives, the lives of their children, as well as the lives of the people in their community. What kind of coffee you choose to buy is a simple decision that can have a positive impact on lots of people.

So, the next time you’re enjoying a cup of your favorite coffee, consider the communities that produced the coffee beans. Think about how you have helped improve those communities’ quality of life and given their children a chance for a better future by simply choosing to buy Fair Trade coffee!

What Is Fair Trade?

fair trade logo in a cup of coffee
A commitment to Fair Trade allows these farmers and artisans to have an opportunity to compete in the international market

Fair Trade “is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade,” according to the World Fair Trade Organization

In developing countries, farmers and artisans do not have the same access to markets as businesses in developed nations. A commitment to Fair Trade allows these farmers and artisans to have an opportunity to compete in the international market. Companies committed to Fair Trade always consider how their actions may affect society, the economy, and the environment.

What Does The Fair Trade Label Mean?

Fair Price

Farmers will receive a fair price for their harvest. They will also receive premiums for community development projects, such as improving water supplies, tree planting, clean energy, and education. 

These farmers will receive even higher premiums if the coffee is Fair Trade Certified and Organic.

Fair Labor Conditions

Fair Trade farm workers are given fair labor conditions and fair wages. Forced labor or child labor is highly prohibited.

Environmental Sustainability

Farmers are on the front line when it comes to climate change. As the unforeseeable consequences of climate change continue to threaten farmers' livelihoods worldwide, it is very important that your cup of coffee is Fair Trade Certified.

Fair Trade farms use sustainable farming methods to protect the welfare of both the farmers and the ecosystem. This means harmful agrochemicals and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are prohibited on these farms. Fair Trade farm workers protect the environment and animals by intercropping plant species to improve soil fertility and prepare for climate change.

Direct Trade

Farmers of Fair Trade coffee engage in direct trade with importers who make purchases from Fair Trade Certified producer organizations. These farmers are allowed to compete in the international market by removing the unnecessary middlemen.

Community Development

Fair Trade farmers invest their premiums in social and business development projects such as: 

  • Education
  • Scholarship programs
  • Healthcare services
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Training

Transparency

Fair Trade farmers get to decide where to invest their revenues.

Why Buy Fair Trade Coffee?

1. Excellent Wage System

When committed to Fair Trade, living wages are more than just a few cents per hour. Many cooperatives offer considerably higher wages for workers compared to what the general market supports. They also contribute to the local community to support its workers, which includes funding for modern health services, educational opportunities, and dissemination of sustainable agricultural techniques.

2. Community Benefits

Fair Trade also provides amenities from cooperatives and suppliers, which allow workers to work in conditions that exceed local standards. In addition, worker safety is a top priority — the use of harmful chemicals and other substances is highly prohibited.

3. Discrimination Is Not Allowed

Fair Trade workers are free from discrimination, which allows equal job opportunities that may not always be true for local workers. Discrimination based on gender and religion is the main issue for them. This is why there are many women workers in cooperatives since they can earn three times as much income (or even more) through Fair Trade.

4. Child Labor Can Be Reduced

Many children spend long hours of labor without receiving any compensation, or if they do, it is only a small fraction compared to what they deserve. Since workers receive fair wages through Fair Trade practices, it lessens the need for families to make their children work to help support their household. These children can receive a proper education instead of being forced to work.

5. Improved Social Conditions

The social conditions in small communities and villages have dramatically improved over the past 20 years that Fair Trade cooperatives have been operating in some regions. Profitability has increased due to better business education, while safety and health have also improved. Furthermore, farming methods have become more efficient, which results in higher yields with less work.

6. Small Business Owners Can Become Internationally Competitive

When small cooperatives and business owners receive Fair Trade certification, they can now compete with large companies on a global scale. Since the price and the distribution are managed equally when the products are imported, large-scale buyers cannot exploit workers or drive small, competitive cooperatives out of business.

7. Organic Techniques Are Used To Create Fair Trade Products

The debate about the benefits and risks of eating GMO foods has become more prevalent, especially in developed countries. In the world of Fair Trade, there is no debate. Organic farming methods are used all the time, which results in a sustainable growth pattern that the ecosystem can support year after year.

You may also be interested in reading our guide on how is coffee grown.

8. Guaranteed Minimum Price

The cooperatives and producers are assured of a fixed return for the commodities they produce after acquiring Fair Trade certification. The minimum price can never drop below the market level — this is why so many people invest in local communities. Community investments increase market pricing, which makes it possible to produce goods with a higher profit margin.

9. Multiple Products Are Available

Fair Trade is continuously growing to include most products produced today, from freshwater prawns to precious metals.

How Coffee Becomes Fair Trade Certified

Coffee manufacturers and growers who sell their products through Fair Trade organizations must pay a minimum price that is higher compared to the market price of coffee. Several organizations certify coffee as Fair Trade, including Fairtrade America, Fair Trade Certified, and Fairtrade International.

Why Is Fair Trade Certification So Important?

Coffee farmers encounter many difficulties in their daily lives, while coffee lovers around the world get to enjoy the results of their labor. In addition, the livelihood of future generations in these coffee-growing regions – their agriculture – is continuously threatened by global warming.

Many farmers in developing countries do not receive a fair price for their harvest. They lack direct access to the market since they are located in isolated rural communities, so they often sell their premium crops to local middlemen below the cost of production. Farmers are forced to give up their land and years of farming history because of a debt cycle, destroying these communities' social fabric and compromising the environment.

By simply buying Fair Trade coffee, you can help these farmers improve their lives, their children’s lives, and all the people in their community. What kind of coffee to buy may seem insignificant to you, yet it can have a positive impact on many people's lives behind the scenes.

  • Consumers: Fair Trade allows consumers to make purchases they can feel good about. 
  • Producers: Fair Trade farmers can invest in their communities and protect the environment for future generations by receiving a fair wage for their labor.
  • Earth: Fair Trade requires and rewards sustainable farming practices that can help protect the welfare of the farmers and wildlife and preserve the ecosystem against climate change.

As you prepare to sit back down and enjoy that delicious, strong coffee, put some consideration into the community that produced the coffee beans and made it possible for you to enjoy that cup of joe. 

The Fair Trade label is the most recognized ethical all over the world. With Fair Trade-Certified coffee, you can be sure that the beans were grown using strict standards to support farmers and their communities and help protect the environment.

Should You Only Buy Fair Trade-Certified Coffee?

fair trade coffee with coffee beans
People who only buy Fair Trade-Certified coffee are guaranteed a specific amount of compensation.

Like any certification, Fair Trade certification will cost you money, and not all coffee farmers, coffee producers, or producer groups have the means to participate in the certification process to have a Fair Trade label.

Whether through direct trade connections with roasters or more often in long-term relationships with coffee importers and exporters, many producers, especially of specialty products like coffee, do receive increased premiums based on the quality.

Having said that, people who only buy Fair Trade-Certified coffee are guaranteed a specific amount of compensation.

3 Popular Fair Trade Coffee Brands

Here are some Fair Trade-Certified coffee brands that you should try:

You can also inquire at your local coffee shop to know what coffee brands they would recommend. If they don’t support Fair Trade coffee yet, then this might be your chance to let them know about this coffee.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on the 8 best US coffee brands of 2022.

Ethical Bean Lush Medium Dark Roast Fairtrade Organic Ground Coffee (8 oz Bag)
  • GROUND COFFEE: One 8 oz. bag of ETHICAL BEAN Lush Medium Dark Roast ground coffee
  • 100% ARABICA COFFEE: Burgundian fullness, alive with fruit, smoke and earth notes
  • USDA ORGANIC COFFEE: Grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers
  • 100% FAIRTRADE CERTIFIED: Ensures farmers receive a fair price that covers their average costs of sustainable production
  • PRE-GROUND COFFEE BEANS: Ready for use in drip, pour-over or French press coffee brewers

Author

  • Danico Dacillo became a fan of coffee when he was in college 'cause it helps him stay awake. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, but now working as a content writer. His passion for writing started when he was still in grade school -- as a sports news writer.