What Is Ethically Sourced Coffee? Sustainability?
Coffee is grown in some of the poorest places, often the boondocks of the world. Coffee farmers have historically been taken advantage of financially. For example, it used to be that corporate buyers would go to remote coffee-growing regions and offer take-it-or-leave-it prices - prices that were often below what farmers needed to survive. The farmer was at the complete mercy of the buyer. There was no fair market.
Today we hear the term "fair trade" frequently. At its root "fair trade" means paying producers a fair price for their product, assuring safe work conditions, and banning child labor. The term "Fair Trade Certified" is owned by the not-for-profit Fair Trade USA. Fair Trade Certified means that the entire supply chain meets their criteria.
Our primary importer, Genuine Origin Coffee, exceeds the requirements of Fair Trade USA for all the coffees they import. However, you will not see "Fair Trade Certified" on coffees we source from Genuine Origin. This is why.
In 2014, Genuine Origin's parent company, Volcafe, undertook a two-year initiative to develop a global approach to sustainably sourcing high-quality coffees. Simplified, sustainability means making sure our partner farms in developing countries will still be producing high-quality coffee in 5, 10, or 30 years - and beyond. They drew on the expertise of their field teams, pooling their collective knowledge and experience, to document best-practice strategies at the coffees' origins. They developed a farmer support organization to provide direct technical assistance to producers, helping them to continually improve their coffee quality, farm productivity, and yields. They named this new sustainable sourcing strategy the Volcafe Way.
Today Genuine Origin has active teams on the ground around the globe to support local farmers. Not only do they provide fair-trade pricing and work conditions, but they also actively invest in communities through medical, educational, and community development programs. All from a commitment to improve the lives of those in our partner communities and to deepen the roots of sustainability.
If you click the link above you can see how Genuine Origin invests into the communities that deliver these great coffees we all enjoy.