Required fields are marked *, Can Nestle and Cargill be held responsible for the child labor in their supply chains? U.S. giant Starbucks, Swiss-based Nespresso and Brazil’s Nucoffee have all used coffee plantations found by labor officials to have exploited laborers in recent years. Instead, Starbucks launched their own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) code, C.A.F.E. Kathryn, Friday, June 12th, is World Day Against Child Labor. Csta Ria has a strong safety net with exellent health care and education, but it is not reaching farm workers particularly Nicaraguans whose large numbers are overwhelming some social service agencies and public opinion and support is moving away from helping these groups so their condtions may worsen. I became an investor in the company because they have a strong business model and because they treat there employees and the customers well. Low prices and huge inequities lead to exploitation. 72% of coffee from fair trade cooperatives gets sold outside the fair trade market. Ethiopia and British charity Oxfam on Thursday accused Starbucks of blocking the Horn of Africa country from trademarking its coffee, denying farmers potential income of about $94 million. Overall, the Brazilian labor ministry reports that workers toiling in slavery-like working conditions was at a 15-year high in 2018. Meanwhile, fair trade farmers have the potential to fare better. Coffee is one of the world’s top traded commodities, ranked highly among products like crude oil, gold, and natural gas. Ethiopia’s coffee industry and farmers could earn an estimated $88 million (USD) extra per year. Low Coffee Prices – A Dire Call to Action, Fair Trade Fashion: A look behind the labels, https://fairworldproject.org/how-do-we-end-child-labor-start-by-addressing-corporate-capitalism/, https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_problem_with_fair_trade_coffee, The Supreme Court Must Hold Nestle and Cargill Accountable, How Do We End Child Labor? The corporate misdeeds of Starbucks don't stop just at the coffee fields on the backs of the oppressed. What does it take to tackle the root causes of these inequities in coffee? They are the result of a system that has historically extracted all it can from farmers and workers in the interest of profit. Overall, it seems clear that their standards & systems are not up to actually addressing the root causes of the problem – you can’t “fix” poverty if you don’t pay fair prices to start! Fairtrade coffee empowers small-scale farmers organized in democratically-run cooperatives to invest in their farms and communities, protect the environment, and develop the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. The market’s at $2.50 (per pound for commodity coffee) today vs. the 40 cents or 50 cents (per pound) it was at in 2001,” says Dennis Macray, former director of global sustainability at Starbucks Coffee Co. Farmer-led SPP (Simbolo Pequeno Productores, or Small Producers Symbol) sets their minimum at $2.20. Practices allow for inspections to happen as infrequently as 2-3 years, depending on several factors including previous inspection scores). Practices program is not equal to solving it—or even to bringing the problem to light. In the early 1800s, landowners built vast plantations, expanding their production on the backs of thousands of enslaved people brought from Africa. The USPTO has denied Ethiopia’s applications for Sidamo and Harar, creating serious obstacles for its project. That is the question in […], Rainforest Alliance certification is not fair trade. Practices. Starbucks currently operates Farmer Support Centers in key coffee producing countries around the world, from Costa Rica to Rwanda to China. To call on Starbucks to support small-scale farmers is to demand that they do their part to shift this system rooted in exploitation. Deductions to cash their checks meant that workers had barely any take-home pay. What appears on the shelf as diversity is, in reality, ever more consolidation. Your email address will not be published. This threatens the already fragile existence of 25 million farming families worldwide. These three points are just a few ways that C.A.F.E. And not just any plantations, but ones that have been “certified” to Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. It’s an unequal playing field that only stands to increase the power of a few mega-corporations. While fair trade standards require coffee to be grown by small-scale farmers organized in cooperatives, there is no such requirement for C.A.F.E. As of now, I haven’t seen updates on this case except that Starbucks said they aren’t buying anymore. One of them has access to massive distribution networks and economies of scale. Fail to address the root causes, and once again the symptoms recur. Thanks for the questions, Brady. cups of coffee per day, or about 136 gallons per year. This comprehensive and transparent program was developed in 2004 in partnership with Conservation International and defines comprehensive social, environmental and economic coffee sourcing standards. Phone: (800) 631-9980 Practices standards allow farms to be inspected every 2-3 years (depending on several factors, including previous scores). Coffee farmers receive 7-10 percent of the retail price of coffee sold in supermarkets12. And in the past four years that trend has only continued. Coffee farmers often live in poor rural communities that rely on coffee harvesting as 16 their primary source of income. An 8-oz cup of bad coffee costs more at the retail level than many growers make for half a days work. That is the question in […], Rainforest Alliance certification is not fair trade. In Nicaragua, coffee farmers are exchanging knowledge with partners in Mexico to diversify their farms and their sources of income, making them less dependent on just one crop. There are a few things that you can do, even as you drink your morning coffee: *In the U.S. it’s celebrated September 29th, in the rest of the world, October 1st. Here’s the conundrum, the one unavoidable truth: Whilst the farmer is removed from the supply chain before any value is derived, this will just get worse. 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