Awkward questions about our supply chain
When it comes to coffee, there are a lot of awkward questions we have to ask ourselves. Like, where are the coffee beans from? How are they grown? And how are the people who picked them treated?
These questions tie into the two main ways coffee is traded: Fairtrade and direct trade.
So what's the difference?
Fairtrade is a system that was created to help farmers in developing countries receive a fair price for their coffee. Farmers who are Fairtrade certified must meet certain standards, such as paying workers a fair wage and using environmentally-friendly growing practices.
Direct trade on the other hand, is a system where buyers like us, purchase coffee directly from farmers. This system allows for more flexibility and communication between the buyer and farmer, which often results in a higher quality product and ensuring the farmer gets paid more.
While Fairtrade aims to promote the protection of farmers, direct trade takes a more aspirational approach. Why? Fairtrade only offers farmers fixed prices, which means that even if the quality of coffee improves, they could not earn more for it. This means farmers are kept at the same income level over time, with no room to improve their crops and livelihood.
Quality and collaboration drives direct trade coffee, and allows for bespoke pricing agreements. Through a direct trading approach, a coffee farmer is enabled to produce higher-quality coffee, and earn more money as a result, creating more favourable economic conditions.
For these reasons, it was vitally important we moved to a direct trade coffee model after taking an awkward look at our own coffee supply chain.
The progress of improving the ethics and quality of our coffee is something we aspired to do, and will always strive towards. It allows us to support our farmers like Ana and Márcio, and do more for our community, making coffee better for everyone involved.