Fair Trade Roadmap
What’s in a Name?
These days, words like Fair Trade, Sustainably Sourced, or Farmer Friendly can be found on almost every bag of coffee out there. Could it really be true that all coffee is now sourced with respect to farmers and the environment? Have we come this far in creating trade justice?
As you might guess, unfortunately the answer is no. What’s happened is that large corporations and small companies alike have discovered that there is money to be made by claiming sustainability, Fair Trade etc., and that there aren’t any hard and fast regulations to make them actually practice what they advertise. Some companies may be well intentioned, but instead of doing actual research or getting to know their farmers, they jump onto the Fair Trade bandwagon and hang on tight, assuming that that is ‘good enough’. Other companies, especially the big boys, aren’t committed to fairness at all, just profits, and jump on the bandwagon because their market researchers tell them it’s time.
If you aren’t a fan of corporations that tell you they do something, but don’t, or do only part of the time, than you’ve come to the right place. Here at Dean’s Beans we practice what we preach, and aren’t shy about sharing it with you.
What Fair Trade Means for Us.So what’s our philosophy at Dean’s Beans? Over the years we’ve participated in different labeling initiatives, like the well-known “Fair Trade Certified” label. Although we used to support it, we’ve always maintained that the Fair Trade labeling system is just one ‘tool in the toolbox’ for creating trade justice. But now that the marketplace has become more saturated with Fair Trade claims and corporate players meddle with the rules, we feel stronger than ever that we need to just keep doing what we are doing instead of putting stake in 3rd party labels.
Complain, Complain, So What are You Gonna Do About It, Mister Coffee?
I know, I know. Anybody can take potshots at easy targets like those greedy Big Boys. So let's model some appropriate behavior here. In response to the corporate marketing hype that is already capturing part of Fair Trade here in the USA, we decided to raise the bar on how Fair Trade was done. As of January 1, 2004 we committed ourselves to the following program:
This is a simple, accountable program that allows any consumer or farmer to check out our claims.
Just as we build long-term relationships with farmers, we want to do the same with you. That way you can see that, for us, Fair Trade isn’t just a passing fad, but rather the foundation of our company and the reason that we come into work every day. For more information about the current Fair Trade debates, check out our zine articles.