Posted April 1st, 2013 in Coffee, Other

What’s wrong with Fairtrade?

One of the good things about starting your own business is that you can make every decision about the way you would like to do business for yourself. From the very beginning of Silverskin Coffee Roasters we have had a clear focus on quality, and for our coffee to be sustainable, ethical and fair. As soon as you set that goal you naturally look towards Fairtrade, however the more we learnt about their model the less we wanted to support it. I don’t want to re-write what’s already been written, but would like to point you towards some interesting articles that have been a part in firming our belief that we can do better for coffee producers than buy Fairtrade products.

Stephen Leighton, owner of Has Bean Coffee in the UK, wrote this article describing why Has Bean no longer offer any Fairtrade coffee.

Colleen Haight, wrote this article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

We now simply buy speciality coffee as directly as possible as we believe this is the best model for all involved. Some coffees, such as decaf, we can’t do this for and have to go to the large importers however the very high majority of our coffee comes from importers (listed above) who have ongoing relationships with the farmers. These guys often work with the farmers or mills to let them know how they could improve their practice in a way that would help them earn more for their product, and for this we’re very happy to pay more.