What do these symbols mean? We are frequently asked what our four symbols represent displayed throughout our branding. We are going to cover a four part blog series to describe each symbol; its use and its purpose within our coffee offering.
Fair Trade Organic (FTO) is coffee that is certified as having been produced to fair trade standards. The Fair Trade Certification is governed by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand. According to the organisation: “Fair Trade is about stable prices, decent working conditions and the empowerment of farmers and workers around the world”. The organisation is set out to ensure the farmers are provided with fair pay, decent working conditions and ensures consistency of income with stability.
Coffee is a widely traded commodity and is highly volatile with drastic price fluctuations from year to year. This is primarily due to coffee being an agriculture product, it is highly dependent on weather conditions and is also susceptible to diseases and a range of other factors. With over 125 million people in the world that rely on coffee farming as their livelihood this fluctuation causes lots of unpredictability. The Fair Trade Organisation is formed purely with good intentions. As this is a controversial issue we will cover a few commonly asked questions in regards to FTO coffee and its certification.
How come all our coffee is not FTO certified and is your other coffee ethically sourced?
We have one symbol that contains 100% FTO Certified coffee that includes one blend and a number of single origins.
The Fair Trade program requires the farmers to be part of the system. Being part of the system does require a substantial financial investment and also requires criteria and guidelines within the farming. Some farmers choose to exclude their farm from this system and this gives them the flexibility and direct financial control. This can be both a positive and negative for the farmer and workers.
As a roaster, having all our coffee from only the Fair Trade system severely restricts the quality and choice of coffee offering thus misaligning our goals to provide customers with the best taste. Our coffee that is not Fair Trade certified is generally dealt with and paid by the wholesalers direct. A lot of time this means higher prices. This simply means that the Fair Trade is an excellent system with good intentions but not designed for every coffee farmer.
Is Fair Trade coffee more expensive?
Our Fair Trade coffee (raw/green beans before being roasted) costs more than some of our coffee and less than others depending on quality, variety and the coffee. Same scenario follows on with our retail/wholesale offering.
What is direct trade coffee?
The Fair Trade Organisation acts as a middleman that controls the certification. Direct trade coffee is purchased directly from the growers/farmers cutting out any other wholesalers and/or certification middlemen.