Since We’re Tawking Cawfee… What the hell is sustainable fair trade coffee anyway?

A lot of the 100s of emails we receive at Greenpointers are things like infographics, which are viral marketing images. When they come from places called “Top Management Degrees,” like a good Sicilian, I’m extremely untrusting. I usually take a peek and learn a thing or two, but most of the time I get about a 1/4 of the way down (because they are long) and then lose interest.

Rianna, the sweet robot student who sent this to me addressed me with “Dear Matt,” but this infographic was actually engaging until the end.

And since we throw around the terms, “local sustainable, fair trade, organic” like they are going out of style – I figured I’d share. Please let me know in the comments whether you learned anything or think this was a complete waste of time and bandwidth. (Remember I am not a robot and do have feelings.) Click continue reading to see the entire (9 million pixel long) graphic for the whole story.

Otherwise, maybe you will find Top Management Degrees’ spectacular office slides more interesting.

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!

8 Comments

  1. CawfeeClatch says:

    Forget fair-trade coffee! I want to get a Top Management Degree in typography and graphic design — they really know how to rock the serif!

    Reply
  2. Jon's Mom says:

    If you work at it, you can find sources of truly fairly traded coffee (and more importantly to me – chocolate). Coffee from these co-ops gets a higher percentage of the cost directly to the producers. Our church (First Congregational in Montclair, NJ) uses only fair trade coffee at our coffee hours. Our website probably has a link to sources of fair trade coffee and chocolate. Check churches in Greenpoint that probably do the same. Cool graphic!!!

    Reply
  3. Former Coop Coffee Hawker says:

    @Jon’s Mom, Be wary of “truly fair traded” or “authentically fair traded” coffees. I sold Equal Exchange coffee through their interfaith program to many churches, perhaps even your own. While “Equal Exchange” highlights the fact that they follow a co-op structure and work exclusively with “small farmer coops”, they employ the same “fair trade” model outlined in the graphic. They currently pay approximately $2.50/lb on a $12 bag of coffee – or about 1/5 of the retail price – to the farmers. This new 50/50 business model from Thrive Coffee seems much more modern and fair.

    Reply
  4. Former Coop Coffee Hawker says:

    @Jen G From my perspective, this graphic is spot on. As a former employee at “fair trade” coffee company, this graphic highlights the current hypocrisy in that term and most industry actors, while identifying a better solution. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  5. Thee says:

    I noticed this article is from a while ago, but I still wanted to comment.

    I appreciate this article.

    And, I have two questions:
    First, generally, fair-trade is much better than not fair-trade, correct?
    Second, what is Rain Forest Alliance certified?

    Reply

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