Your morning caffeine fix is but a drop in the global bucket that makes coffee the number two most traded commodity in the world after petroleum. But with 100 million Americans like you drinking coffee every day, the bucket easily overflows to make the US the world’s top coffee consumer...
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If only Fair Trade were available to all farmers at minimal cost then it would have real value. I think the cost of certification excludes those farmers who need certification the most. Sad.
@Javan I'm also wondering whether Fair Trade can do anything to stabilize the price of coffee in the commodities market? Because right now that's the greatest problem farmers face. The price they command for their crop can only go higher if the the global prices don't drop. But I like the fact that Fair Trade helps farmers understand the market better.
I buy Fair Trade coffee some of the time, and I like to think I support their goals. I'd like to see the program expanded to some less-visible tropical agricultural commodities, such as palm oil.
But this infographic is faintly ridiculous. The good message is buried behind a layer of stupidity and blatant Marxism.
Why is Canada included in the top-6 countries where U.S. buys coffee? We certainly don't grow any here! I can believe the numbers are correct, but some note to explain the discrepancy (international trade routes run through Vancouver and Montreal instead of Seattle and Boston? Historical links through international organizations such as the British Commonwealth? A quirk of the Chicago commodities market that excludes coffee?) is needed.
Why should I care about the standard of living of the tiny number of people who own international logistics companies? Or owners of a mill?
Why would I care what their primary concerns are? Especially when such concerns, as laid out here, are entirely in line with their occupations and social positions. Should I be shocked and outraged that the president of a large corporation spends considerable time thinking about ways to increase profits?
And why does the illustration to go with the hypothetical farmer include a tractor? I thought the Coyote owned the only vehicle in the village.
It is astounding just how many people depend on their morning cup of Joe. The demand is only getting bigger and we have to produce this commodity responsibly. Paying the farmers fairly and reducing the number of irresponsible producers should be higher on the priority list. After all it is a commodity traded on the global market.
@TheBrummel, we give a damn because if we don't then no one else probably will. It's a big business, coffee that is, which is why there should be more effort to support what's conscientious.
Thank you for your comments and critiques. I'm glad you guys found the time to speak your mind about our work and this issue. I really appreciate the attention and time you’ve devoted.
I just want to say that Fair Trade, like many other organizations who are trying to better the world piece by piece, could use such inputs. One thing we could do is reach out to these organizations and make them aware about some points that we think and feel they can improve on. I’m sure there are enough good people out there working in organizations or companies that promote fairer types of trade that would hear our voices out (and actually do something).
By the way, we mean in no way to come across as “Marxist” as that is really far from our convictions. We presented these statistical data this way to show the grave disparity that exists between the components of the coffee industry to fuel thoughts and actions.
I believe, as consumers, it is a duty to be responsible about what we buy as well as the subsequent social ripples of our preferences and commercial activities. Sure, we all do have to make money and there is nothing wrong with that. Companies do need to profit and profit is the point of trade. It’s just that there more ways that we can make it fairer – fairer to those that literally carry the industry on their backs. Fair Trade is just one of many.
If you want to get your points across to the people behind Fair Trade, please contact these organizations:
"We presented these statistical data this way to show the grave disparity that exists between the components of the coffee industry to fuel thoughts and actions."
Thank you, I had thought this was the case but it's great to see confirmation.
Disparities in income, quality of life, and so forth are certainly worth talking about. My critique was that it came across to me as a simplistic anti-corporate tirade in sound-bite form, without addressing any of the underlying assumptions. The bit about outsourcing is one example - the owner or CEO of company is going to be spending considerable time & effort on balancing expenses vs. revenue; outsourcing is only one of many possible courses of action a CEO could take to address costs vs. income. To disparage outsourcing with a blanket statement smacks of protectionism and nationalism, attitudes that seem fundamentally at odds with the goals of the Fair Trade movement.
"@TheBrummell, we give a damn because if we don’t then no one else probably will. It’s a big business, coffee that is, which is why there should be more effort to support what’s conscientious."
I give a damn about poverty. I give a damn about inequalities and unfairness. I give a damn about criminal activities and human rights abuses, especially if they are occurring because of actions I have taken or decisions I've made. And I give a damn about coffee - I drink a considerable amount of it.
I don't give a damn about some hyper-rich person's daily to-do list, as long as that list contains no severely unethical behaviour. Monopolies, suppression of human rights, bribery of officials, creating barriers to the formation of organised labour or the free movement of people, these are severely unethical behaviours. Buying a commodity cheaply where it is produced and selling it for more money somewhere else is not. Ripping off the producers, by lying about costs of transport, or by creating a sole-buyer-dictates-prices situation, is unethical.
Wow, this is a fascinating infographic - so much information! It's fascinating to learn that 100 million Americans drink coffee everyday, that's a staggering amount!