USA Fair Trade Coffee Movement To Include Large Coffee Plantations, Ease Coffee Fair Trade Rules
Fair Trade USA, a fair trade movement that advocates paying premiums to farmers of coffee and other crops in developing countries in the US, announced that it will break ties with the main international fairtrade movement and offer its seal for larger coffee plantation instead of to smaller farmers.
The fair-trade organization argues that doing so will enable them to expand fair trade practices on a wider scale and pay premiums to very poor workers in the coffee plantations.
It will also change the fair trade standards giving out its approval for those including fair trade in %10 instead of %20 of their ingredients.
Critics point out that Fair Trade USA aims at gaining more money by handing out certifications to large companies, and that this will motivate companies to include only the minimum of %10 fair trade ingredients in their products. Also, it will cause small poor farmers to lose out to the bigger players of the market.
Will coffee companies in the US work with Fair Trade USA to get their certification? This is a good question, as some of the bigger coffee companies in the US, such as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Starbucks already announced that they will continue working with Fair Trade USA, and others are still weighing their options.
According to the New York Times (November 23, 2011), qouting a spokeswman at Green Mountain, the coffee company bought 26 million pounds of fair trade coffee and paid $1.6 million in licensing fees to Fair Trade USA in 2010.