Why We Believe in Fair Trade
Defining Fair Trade
In order to understand why we believe in fair trade here at Equator, first you must understand what fair trade is and what the purpose behind it is. Fair trade refers to the trading of goods occurring between developing and developed countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers. Fairtrade originated in the early 1950s and grew in popularity into a phenomenon that today we consider fair trade. In the early 1950s, the was a growing ethical concern when it came to sourcing and producing products. By the 1970s an organization named the “Alternative Trade Organization” had been established and was working with many developing countries. The Alternative Trade Organization’s main goals were to focus on addressing issues of poverty, exploitation, and lack of market access for small-scale producers.
Coffee and Fair Trade
Coffee is a beverage that is enjoyed by people all over the world. However, coffee can not be produced in many regions as it requires specific climates and altitudes in order to grow. The main regions where coffee can be grown include many developing countries, which resulted in a historical pattern of exploitation of goods and labor. Large-scale companies based in developed countries would pay unfair amounts to the small-scale farmers and producers of coffee, as they knew they had a monopoly over the industry. Essentially these large-scale companies would source coffee beans for next to nothing and sell them for a huge profit, leaving the farmers and producers unable to grow their businesses. This is an example of unfair trade and something we at Equator our trying to change. Our principle value of fair trade means that we do not practice this type of business when sourcing our coffee, rather we source all of our products according to fair trade practice guidelines.
How Fair Trade Coffee is Possible
Before Coffee can be a delicious energizing beverage, it must travel across many borders, and go through multiple processes. Fair Trade coffee is possible due to the cooperatives and organizations that have been established over time. There are four main steps a coffee product must undergo before it reaches the consumer. The first step is it must be grown, this is the job of the farmer, often a small-scale business operating in a developing country. The farmer then sells the product to the producer co-op which is a cooperative farmers can be a part of that insures their labors will not be exploited and allows them to participate in fair trade. From here the product is purchased by a coffee cooperative which is made up of wholesalers and roasters who are interested in buying fair-trade coffee. From here the co-op sells the product to wholesalers or roasters such as Equator Coffee, where we then roast the beans and make delicious coffee from them.
The Fair Trade process for coffee is extensive however it is worth it as it allows for all workers, business owners, and customers to be treated fairly. Fair trade creates a sustainable environment for all sides of product production, from the farmer who has to invest in equipment to harvest the crop to the coffee shop owner who invests in high-quality machines to serve the best coffee. Here at Equator, we believe in fair trade as it is the ethical choice for sourcing products, and allows us to positively contribute to places all over the world.