The Fair Trade Certification Mark
The Fair Trade certification mark provides an assurance that international Fair Trade (Fairtrade) standards (e.g., economic, social, and environmental standards) have been met.
The Fair Trade label is used in at least 50 countries on thousands of products, and many coffee-growing cooperatives in different coffee-growing nations participate in Fair Trade programs.
Improving Standards of Living Through Fair Trade
Fair Trade programs encourage countries importing coffee to pay higher than the standard market commodity price for the coffee with the goal of providing better profits for growers so as to improve their standard of living, improve their working conditions (e.g., health and safety), and encourage sustainable coffee farming practices.
The Fair trade certification covers only the products certified and not the organizations or companies selling the products.
Fair Trade Associates
Integrally associated with Fair Trade programs are numerous Fair Trade Organizations and Alternative Trade Organizations including TransFair USA, TransFair Canada, Fair trade Labelling Organization International, Oxfam International, International Federation for Alternative Trade (IFAT), Fair Trade Federation, and Equal Exchange.
Associated to some degree with Fair Trade programs are numerous United States chains that sell coffee including Starbucks, Peet's Coffee, Green Mountain, Seattle's Best, Millstone, and Procter & Gamble.
Pros and Cons of Fair Trade Programs
Critics of Fair Trade coffee programs state that the subsidies to the farmers contribute to low overall prices for coffee due to overproduction when natural market forces would prevent this by encouraging diversification into other agricultural products.
Critics of Fair Trade also question how much benefit is actually conferred upon coffee farmers through the Fair Trade programs.
Fair Trade Coffee - coffee with the Fair Trade Mark (Fair Trade Certification) - is also referred to as Trade Fair Coffee, Fair Coffee Trade, and Fair Trade Certified.
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