Fairly Traded Coffee: Providing Care for the Community & Environment




Fair Trade and Fairly Traded Coffee

You may be asking yourself, "I've been hearing all about this Fair Trade stuff, and so what do you mean by Fairly Traded?" The answer, first and foremost, is that both the Fair Trade Certificate and our Fairly Traded program strive to alleviate dire poverty in coffee growing lands. It's a real problem that you just can't ignore when you visit the towns and villages where coffee is grown.


What is Fair Trade Certified?

Fair Trade is a labeling/certification program which certifies importers and roasters who purchase coffee beans directly from cooperatives of small, landed farmers at a fixed price contract of no less than $1.31 per pound. The scheme also promotes long-term fixed contracts as well as direct imports from cooperatives to bypass middlemen. If a bag of coffee has been purchased through Fair Trade certified farmer cooperatives, the package can show the black and white Fair Trade certificate of TransFair USA - the non-profit that certifies Fair Trade.

Why Don't We Carry the Fair Trade Certificate?

The problem with Fair Trade is that not all farmers with excellent quality farms want to become organized into cooperatives (a prerequisite for farmers participating in Fair Trade). Furthermore, many large coffee farms with which we do business often hire the local, indigenous population to work on their farms. So, when importing coffee from a larger farm (and therefore not a member of a Fair Trade cooperative), it is impossible to get Fair Trade certification for the coffee. One common misconception is that the official Fair Trade certificate proves the coffee helps workers. That is not true…it only helps members of farming cooperatives. Workers who don't own any land are left out of the entire Fair Trade scheme.


What is San Francisco Bay Fairly Traded Coffee?

While we don't purchase officially certified Fair Trade Certified coffee, San Francisco Bay Coffee proudly states that all of our coffee is Fairly Traded. Why?

  • We pay farmers much more than the minimum $1.31 per pound. In fact, we pay them an even fairer price that helps to keep their farms in business. With vibrant farms, farmers and workers are able to stay near their families rather than migrate to big, overcrowded cities to find work.
  • We also import directly from farmers rather than through the coffee commodities market.
  • Our unique and innovative Community Aid program truly breaks the cycle of poverty in our partner communities.

In addition to trading fairly and directly, we also spend upwards of $1 million a year through our non-profit called the Community Aid Program to build schools, health clinics, housing for workers and much more in coffee towns around the world.