We get asked a lot why we don’t sell Fairtrade certified coffee, surely an ethical organisation like Urban Coffee would subscribe to the Fairtrade values. Well of course we subscribe to the values we just don’t believe that the Fairtrade brand is the best way of meeting these values.
Fairtrade has sold the myth that if you buy Fairtrade products you are helping farmers in the Third World; we don’t think the evidence for this stacks up and here is why:
The main issue
The main issue for speciality coffee companies like Urban Coffee is the quality of coffee. When the market price is high like it is today and has been for a number of years, farmers will choose to sell their coffee to private exporters rather than the Fairtrade co-operative because they will get a higher price than Fairtrade. They then sell their lesser quality coffee that doesn’t meet the quality measures of the private traders to the Fairtrade co-operative. So if you are buying Fairtrade coffee while the market price for coffee is high the chances are you are buying a lesser quality coffee.