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Unfair, Fair, Unfair. Fair Trade and Alternative



With the effect of the rising attention to social morality these few years, "Are the coffee beans in your store fair trade?" This is one of the question most often asked by our customers. Being a caring brand, our concern is never limited to the quality of our products themselves but the sources and their very own history. We do believe happy workers finish their job with better emotion, which lead to better outcomes, that's the story behind our beans, the elemental factor of their uniqueness that color your coffee.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade is a social movement firstly started in 1940s in Northern markets by religious groups and various politically oriented non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that aimed at helping small producers achieve better trading conditions. Nowadays, the fair trade mainly apply in marginalized producers in developing counties and as well promote sustainable farming when trying to improved social and environmental standards of the producers or workers by promoting and helping in greater equity in international tradings. The fair trade is practising base on the three core beliefs: the international trading currently exist is part of the reason wealth between nations distributing in unequal pattern; secondly, even the small producers are able to express unity with consumers; finally, it is more efficient and sustainable to assist the workers and producers in developing countries by buying their products in a fair price when compared with the traditional charities and aids.

Fair Trade Organizations

Usually when people talk about fair trade organization in Hong Kong, they meant The Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). The truth is, there are actually quite a number fair trade organizations from different countries and parties. The FLO (created in 1997) is well known as they have most of the market share. Other large fair trade organizations include IMO, Make Trade Fair, Eco-Social, Fair Trade USA, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) since 1989, The Network of European Worldshops created in 1994, The European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) created in 1990, The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) created in 1994 etcetera. Although, not all fair trade organizations are fair trade certifiers and not all fair trade certifiers are recognized (examples of recognized certifiers: IMO,FLO,WFTO,Make Trade Fair, Eco-Social etc. ), there is one point always true that the fair trade organizations are very active in supporting producers by engaging them with the customers, and never rest in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.

Fair Trade Certificated Coffee

They are coffee that carry a certificate authorized by a fair trade organization to proof that the coffee having been produced to fair trade standards.

The Fair Trade Debate, Is Fair Trade Certification Necessary In Fair Trade Campaign Now?

In the light of Fairtrade International, almost 60% consumers have seen the Fairtrade mark and around 90% of them trust it. That sounds positive, here's the problem, the Fairtrade Certification Campaign is so successful that some producers, traders, cooperatives, importers and packers start taking advantages on it. A study published by MIT Press during 2015 found that under the protection of Fair Trade Certification System, producers benefits were almost zero! This shocking situation was associated with the oversupply of certification and certifiers' failure in enforcing the fair trade standards, producers, cooperatives, importers and packers are profiting by violating the standard.

As to get a fair trade certification, the product has to fit to the same fair trade standards that apply to all markets, even some fair trade standards actually causes greater inequalities in curtain markets, not to mention some rigid rules is inappropriate for the specific market. This lead to the result of only a very small fraction was actually sold on fair trade markets among all the fair trade classified products, which is just enough to cover the costs of certification. The backfire of this certification system urge people look for alternatives to continue with the fair trade campaign in their own way, one proposed alternative is direct trade.

By directly placing orders to marginalized producers, kebeles, unions or local communities (kebeles, unions and communities are formed by the coffee producers). By skipping overhead of the fair trade certification, it allows the producer to receive prices closer to the retail price of end the product. Through their own communities, products are able to negotiate themselves and gather most up dated news and information about the coffee market directly from buyers.

Honestly, we feel quite into making direct purchase from communities or individual producers, like Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU) of Africa, Carrizal Community of Costa Rica, La Esperanza of Coloumbia, one of the bonus with buying green beans directly from individual like Elida Estate of Panama is that they are able to tailor made green bean for us through the slow dry process, which is something could never happened without if there's no direct trade.

Is Fair Trade Certification Necessary In Fair Trade Campaign Now? This will be an open question left for you to decide.

#fairtrade #fairtrade

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