October 05, 2004

Fair Trade in the Union

Writing about web page http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/boar/?article=3286

Considering we were encouraged to come to this course with an agenda, I thought I might as well try to promote mine and do this media diary on Fair Trade. I'm starting close to home with our own dear Union which in January passed a policy stating that all tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and sugar must be Fair Trade produce.

In a nutshell, Fair Trade is about ensuring that growers of crops such as those mentioned above get more money for their produce (ie. enough to sustain a more comfortable lifestyle) as well as using a portion of the money for community development projects in the growing areas. Fair Trade produce carries the Fair Trade mark:

More information can be found at the Fair Trade website.

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  1. I'm going to risk sounding like a twat here, here goes….

    please tell me if i'm wrong but i always find the problem with things like fair trade is that benefits the countries and people who are actually capable of of producing something to sell. not that its not a good idea but i always think the charities and organisations that help those in really shitty situations, and have nothing to export at all, need the promotion and attention that others get.

    05 Oct 2004, 22:03

  2. You're right, of course, Anthony, the problem inherent in relying only on Fair Trade is that it does only benefit countries and people with something to sell. However, it does have many worthwhile benefits in the long term; it doesn't pretend to be a short term solution to problems such as famine or drought. However, it's a relatively easy way to get people 'thinking globally; acting locally' whereas things such as donating money to NGOs for the relief of other problems is more problematic. Fair Trade can solve some problems and allow people to haul themselves out of the abject poverty in which they live, but it is not a solution to all problems, admittedly. The trick is to get people to do both – try to consume ethically and to support charities such as Oxfam and Medicins sans Frontiers who do much more urgent but in the long term no less valuable work.

    05 Oct 2004, 22:39

  3. What is the Fair Trade stuff in the stuff like? Our sixth forn sold Fair Trade tea and it was nasty.
    More to the point though, Fair Trade manages to get money directly into these people's communties, so they're not just helping out the producers.

    05 Oct 2004, 22:45

  4. I'm afraid I can't really tell you what it tastes like, Samantha as I don't really go for tea or coffee.

    05 Oct 2004, 23:05

  5. Steve Rumsby

    The problem I have always had with fairtrade coffee is that I've never liked the taste! Tescos own-brand fairtrade coffee is possibly the best of the bunch, but I still don't like it much.

    I'm reliably informed that Kenco will shortly be bringing out a fairtrade coffee. Since that is the brand I've currently settled on as my favorite instant coffee, I'm hopeful that it will be reasonably decent. Don't know when, though. The sooner, the better.

    06 Oct 2004, 10:30

  6. I've been drinking fair trade coffee for a few years and have a small Fairtrade stall here in elab. My initial reaction was 'ughh, why would I drink that stuff its disgusting', but I have got used to it. Fairtrade instant coffee isn't as smooth as other instant coffees but is a on level pegging in the filter dept, of which there are growing suppliers. The more pressure people put on companies like Nestle (Nescafe) by not buying their products, the more those companies will change with consumer pressure and be persuaded to pay the producers an ethical price. I'm pleased to hear about Kenco because I love its taste and will be interested to see if it retains the same flavour.

    06 Oct 2004, 14:45

  7. i would say that taste should come second on the scale when comparing drinks to fair trade; the benefits to others that fair trade brings are undoubtedly an excellent reason to put up with a taste that may be far inferior to other brands. of course this is easy to say as someone who doesnt like coffee and likes my tea about as simple as u can get, bag plus water plus a bit of milk.


    06 Oct 2004, 18:29

  8. Steve Rumsby

    i would say that taste should come second on the scale when comparing drinks to fair trade

    I suppose I should think that, and if it comes down to it, I would be prepared to sacrifice some quality, but so far I haven't found a fairtrade coffee I could drink regularly. At the end of the day, I'm not going to drink something I don't actually like! I'd rather drink "proper" stuff and give a little cash to somebody like Traidcraft (which actually is my current solution to this problem).

    I too look forward to the Kenco fairtrade product with interest. I can see no technical reason why it shouldn't have the same taste as their regular coffee (unless fairtrade beans are of a lower quality), so I'm optimistic. I wish I knew the timescales, though!

    I was also pleased to see Tesco produce an own-brand fairtrade coffee, and when I do buy the stuff I buy that to encourage them. Having fairtrade products so prominently in public view, promoted by a major retailer, is a good thing.

    07 Oct 2004, 09:36

  9. Robert O'Toole

    As Hannah will testify (as i'm the most frequent cusomer at her shop), I eat Fairtrade biscuits and sweets everyday. I also drink a wide variety of Fairtrade coffee. There's no problem with quality, although when they rate a coffee as grade 4 it really is strong, unlike some of the other makes.

    08 Oct 2004, 07:56

  10. Steve Rumsby

    I don't have a problem with fairtrade biscuits (or chocolate, come to that). Perhaps I'm just a fussy coffee drinker?

    08 Oct 2004, 09:26

  11. Dean Chalk

    As a coffee roaster, I am unable to sell fairtrade coffee as there is no quality component.
    Specialty coffee is bt definition ‘fair-trade’ as it is much in demand and the growers invariably get a very high price for their efforts.
    An alternative scheme is the cup of excellence program, where top quality coffees are sold on open auction.

    17 Nov 2008, 21:05

  12. thebe

    why does fair trade taste worse than normal coffe?
    why does fair trade choclate taste boring and nasty ?

    25 Nov 2008, 22:54

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