Coffee. It makes the world go round. For millions of Americans every day, coffee plays an integral and welcome part of their lives. Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee every single day. That amounts to 146 billion cups every year in the United States alone. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. Only oil is more heavily traded worldwide. Learn about FairTrade coffee and more ways to help change the world.
But did you know that coffee is one of the most morally traded commodities as well? In the United States, only Hawaii and California have the proper climate for coffee growth (though it is also grown in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico). The majority of all the coffee we drink is grown in tropical foreign countries near the equator. Almost all of them are 3rd world nations that struggle with weak economies and poor wages. Coffee may just be the way to fight the grim economies of those nations.
There are two initiatives that create positive moral spirals for coffee drinkers by improving both wages and environmental concerns for coffee growers around the world. You will see stamps for Fair Trade Certified and Rainforest Alliance on many packages of Coffee Mill coffee. What do these certifications mean?
FairTrade coffee means distributors promise to place a guaranteed price on all of the coffee they buy, which ensures a higher wage for the coffee grower and their workers. This means that every pouch of FairTrade coffee you drink that comes with a Fair Trade logo guarantees that the people who grew it were paid a living wage that allowed them to provide for their families.
Rainforest Alliance certifies that farms meet a minimum standard for how they are managed. These requirements address sustainable land usage, proper business practices, and consumer behavior. This means that Rainforest Alliance certified coffees are guaranteed to be good for the environments where they are grown.
Rainforest Alliance standards include measures for soil conservation, restoration of natural habitats, reduction in greenhouse emissions, measures to reduce deforestation, a framework for proper pest management, use of pesticides and herbicides, as well as human rights issues covering workers housing, sanitation, and safety.
Application of the methodologies of these certifications works together to change how coffee is grown around the world. Growers used to clear-cut trees to make harvesting easier, however, many growers are finding that keeping the trees in place allows coffee to grow in the shade improving the taste of the beans. The trees also reduce soil erosion, maintain natural nutrition levels in the soil, and provide a home for indigenous wildlife.
These organizations are helping farmers in another way as well. Growers who can meet either or both standards can charge higher prices for their produce as the demand for certified beans increases. In 2012, 4.5% of all coffee grown around the world met the criteria of the Rainforest Alliance. This was a 45% increase from just one year before, and the demand for coffee with ethical growth standards continues to increase as time goes on.
So, drink your coffee with pride. Your morning cup of joe is actually making the world a better place. Coffee Mill has a wide selection of high quality organic, bird-friendly, Rainforest Alliance, and FairTrade coffee to choose from. Give us a call to make the selection for your office and change the world.