Fair-Trade - is There a Better Way?

Category: One BIGG Island in Space

There’s a growing movement among US consumers towards ethical consumption. Think of the slogans we’ve all become familiar with over the last many years for products advertising ethical attributes running the gamut from “free range” eggs to “conflict free” diamonds. Given the choice, more and more consumers are spending their dollars on goods that do good in the world, or at least do no harm. And because so few of us have either the time or the skill set to track down the provenance of an individual purchase, we rely on third-party endorsement.

In the coffee world, the third-party endorsement with which most of us are familiar is the Fair-Trade label. It conjures the impression that the coffee with that label on the bag was grown, harvested and processed in a way that did not exploit the worker or the farmer. And perhaps, even, that it supports some greater social good for the community.


But what does it mean, and is it true?