May is fair-trade month. Despite its initial popularity and its noble intentions, fair trade coffee has been less of a trendy product lately and has even come under criticism by certain coffee roasters. Indeed like any system, it has its flaws. The fair trade project is not an end in itself, but a living system that changes with time. The purchases that we make directly from the coffee farmers are more singular and more efficient from a marketing point of view. Despite the fact that a North-South trading axis is direct, everyone agrees that direct purchases cannot happen on 100% of the crops. The fair trade month of May is a way for FARO to claim that fair trade has its place in our purchasing system. It must and will evolve, like all business trading systems; the fairness factor that gave rise to this system is a part of our core values. Let’s ask our own Valérie Verhoef, barista and manager at FARO, to tell us more about fair trade.
Maxime Fabi, managing director
Why fair trade ?
Fair trade exists because this type of trade is based on the theory that conventional trading is unfair and that we all need to look at the mark we leave as consumers and stakeholders. Imbalance in trade between the Northern and Southern countries has existed since the first industrial revolution. For almost 20 years now, FARO has been preoccupied by this unfairness and holds fairtrade coffee in its product offering. Every year we visit many coffee producers in South and Central America. Although fair trade represents only 0.01% of all commerce worldwide, according to the Fair Trade Federation, we insist on doing our part. We believe in solidarity and respect for others in our trading practices.
The implications of buying fair trade products.
When buying fairtrade products we:
- Promote the development of good ethics in commerce. We respect the workers, while fighting against cheap labour and child work; we encourage equal treatment for women.
- Help in maintaining healthy commercial relationships. We redefine their terms and most of all we establish a direct rapport with all types of farmers and producers.
- Contribute to the broadening of the range of products being offered and their availability on the fairtrade markets. The stronger the demand, the wider the product offering.
- Help in the transfer of knowhow and skills that surely deserve to be passed on to future generations.
- Choose local producers. Whether from here or abroad… We work with people who are passionate about their craft, people who enjoy creating and offering quality products.
It is not our intention to hold a moralising discourse; we are merely craftspeople who specialize in roasting coffee. We are affected by the fairtrade aspect of economic development and we are proud to offer our patrons various fairtrade products.