Can’t start your day without a cup of coffee? You’re not alone; 63 percent of adult Americans drink coffee every day, according to the 2012 National Coffee Association’s National Coffee Drinking Trends study. All those cups of joe, however, can do more than give Americans the boost they need to wake up. They also have the potential to help coffee farmers around the world.
A growing number of Americans are embracing Fair Trade, which provides farmers a fair price for their crops, resulting in a better quality of life in their communities. Fair Trade benefits more than 1.2 million families in 70 developing countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to Fair Trade USA – a leading Fair Trade certification organization. The majority of Americans (74 percent) believe it’s important to purchase products that are priced to compensate producers fairly, yet only one-in-five Americans (18 percent) are purchasing Fair Trade regularly, according to new research from Fair Trade USA.
Fair Trade results in quality products, because when farmers are paid more, they can invest back into the quality of the products they produce. “More and more people are shopping at their local farmers’ markets, because they want quality products, and want to know where these products come from and that they are grown or produced in socially and environmentally responsible ways. Fair Trade is like a global farmers’ market – it extends those same values to products that aren’t grown locally,” says Lindsey Bolger, vice president, Coffee Sourcing & Excellence for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR). GMCR purchased more than 54 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified (TM) coffee in 2012, making the company the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee in the world.
In addition, through the community development funds that are generated by Fair Trade purchases, farmers and their families can help address other community needs, such as improving roads, building health care facilities and ensuring access to education for their children. “Purchasing Fair Trade products is a simple choice that can make a big difference in coffee communities around the world,” says Bolger. In 2012 alone, GMCR’s Fair Trade Certified coffee purchases contributed to more than $ 10 million in Fair Trade community development funds.
Fair Trade Certified products include tea and herbs, cocoa, rice, vanilla, sugar, flowers, fruit, wine and apparel. Coffee is the most popular Fair Trade product in the U.S. and is a good model for how Fair Trade can benefit both farmers and consumers. Many coffee farmers are small landowners in remote locations and lack access to credit, so they are vulnerable to middlemen who offer cash for their coffee at a fraction of its value. Fair Trade means these farmers receive a fair price for their beans, which they can invest back into the quality of the coffee and the health of their communities.
Finding Fair Trade Certified products is easier than most shoppers think. Many popular coffees are available as Fair Trade Certified blends and Green Mountain Coffee (R) offers one of the largest selections of Fair Trade Certified coffees in the U.S. This includes one of the brand’s newest coffees, Three Continent Blend, which combines the flavors and aromas of three continents (South America, Africa and Asia) in one harmonious Extra Bold blend.
To learn more about Fair Trade, visit GreenMountainCoffee.com.