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Fair Trade Day 2023

There always seems to be another buzz word battling for attention on social media. Perhaps the most misunderstood is sustainable coffee, what exactly is sustainable coffee and why is it so important?

Firstly, the term is many layered and complex and must take into account agricultural concerns, economic realities and ecological imperatives. Sustainable coffee also has to be aware of fair treatment for the farmers and growers and to pay a fair price for the product.

Around 50 countries worldwide grow coffee beans and process it for the rest of the world to enjoy. Most of these countries are second and third world countries satisfying the craving for coffee from the first world. In the coffee growing countries coffee harvesting can sometimes be the principal industry employing most of the population in some way. So sudden changes in demand or weather conditions or the economy can have a rapid and devastating effect on whole the whole of society in those countries.  

Sustainable coffee uses efficient farming methods that are both agriculturally and ecologically sound. The World Bank estimates that 17-20 million families worldwide are dependent on growing coffee for their livelihoods but then comes the people who harvest it, process it, wholesale it, warehouse it, ship it, brew it and then comes us, the consumers.

Today is World Fair Trade Day, the organisation that most supports the idea of sustainable coffee. Their idea couldn’t be simpler. Buyers pay at least the minimum price agreed upon by the organisation to farmers. It also commits to meeting a set of standards for the consumer too, restricting the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers and paying workers a fair wage and not exploiting child workers.

The price you pay for a cup of coffee may be a little more expensive – but you’ll know that ‘Your change fuels change for the better’ around the world.

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