Fairtrade Week 2014

Monday, 10 March, 2014
This week is National Fairtrade Week.

The phrase Fair Trade is thrown around a lot in the coffee industry, so much so we even got Sarah Robinson of Bean There Coffee Company to write about in our last magazine. She provided this excellent breakdown of the use of it within the Coffee Industry:

Fairtrade (one word) is the leading fair trade movement in the agricultural sector. Its name and brand (the Fairtrade Label) are owned by Fairtrade International and only companies certified against Fairtrade Standards can use it and apply the label on their products. Fairtrade is an ethical certification system which aims to promote more equality and sustainability. All farmers and traders are annually audited to ensure compliance.

Fair Trade
Fair Trade (two words) refers to the concept of ethical trading and therefore refers to all initiatives that work to achieve it.

Direct Trade
Direct trade is a form of sourcing practiced by some coffee roasters, referring to direct sourcing from farmers, with standards varying between producers. Advocates of direct trade practices promote direct communication and price negotiation between buyer and farmer, along with systems that encourage and incentivise quality. There is no agreed definition of the term, and, unlike Fairtrade coffee, there is no third party certification that the conditions stated by the coffee buyers are being complied with. The term was pioneered by the collective efforts of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea and Counter Culture Coffee.

Relationship Coffee

Relationship Coffee was coined by David Griswold of Sustainable Harvest in 2000 and has since become a popular way to describe coffee purchasing practices. Relationship coffee is a long-term agreement between a green coffee buyer and a farmer that seeks to transcend market fluctuations and eliminate middlemen. Relationship coffee should always involve a direct, face-to-face interaction between the farmer and the roaster based on trust and transparency."

Read the full story in Issue 6 of TheCoffeeMag.

The Fairtrade Team SA makes some pretty good points about why you should get involved.


1. You can win fantastic prizes by participating in Fairtrade’s daily social media giveaways. Prizes include everything from cookbooks from Brand Ambassador Reuben Riffel and a weekend getaway package, to Fairtrade product hampers and Woolworths vouchers up for grabs. To get stuck in, simply like the FairtradeSA Facebook page or follow FairtradeSA on Twitter #FairtradeWeek

2. When you buy a Fairtrade product part of the price is reinvested in healthcare, education and community development projects.

3. You’re keeping it local! From small-scale rooibos growing communities in Wupperthal, and farm workers in Stellenbosch, to smallholder coffee farmers in the village of Moshi, Tanzania, you choosing Fairtrade is making Africa more equal and sustainable.

4. You’re helping maintain South Africa’s position as the Fairtrade emerging economy model. And keeping Mzansi in the spotlight as a trailblazer and showing even global superpowers how incredible our country is, can only have positive results.

5. It’s an excuse to drink more wine. Did you know that South Africa is the number one producer of Fairtrade wine the world? Let’s keep the accolade alive and give more of the winelands farmers impetus to get Fairtrade certified.

6. Fairtrade is one of the top ten most desirable brands. Millions of consumers across the globe, from the UK and Germany to Brazil and India, choose Fairtrade products every day! Be part of this international movement in support of the people that grow our food.

7. You’re supporting sustainable agricultural practices in South Africa and around the world. In the wise words of Terry Swearingen, “We are living on the planet as if we have another one to go to.”

There are lots of different ways to go about your business, as Sarah explains, just because it doesn't have a Fair Trade label doesn't mean that the trading is necessarily unfair, it's just good to aware of how the things you consume are being handled and Fairtrade as an organisation is trying to make the process more transparent.

The Woolworths Team are fully invested in the Fairtrade concept and are putting it into practice.

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