Fairtrade, the Rainforest Alliance, and Making a Difference

The Fairtrade Foundation has become an icon of ethical coffee purchasing for over two decades. Founded in 1992, the Foundation has not only taken great strides in ensuring that coffee growers get a better deal, but also in raising people’s awareness of the ethical questions in their coffee purchasing.

However, in recent years, questions have been asked about just how well the Foundation has succeeded at its mission statement. There’s no doubt that it has helped, and each payment it makes to cooperatives of farmers does make a difference, but there have been some confusion about what proportion of each payment reaches the farmers supporting those cooperatives.

In any case, the Fairtrade Foundation operates in a way some would call ‘stopgap’; it still requires the Foundation, in London, to act as a broker for these cooperatives, and the bargaining power ultimately lies with them.

Whilst their achievements are very definitely worth celebrating, at Nexus we want to ensure that we are supporting long term solutions for coffee farmers. We want to help them help themselves so that everyone involved in the process can benefit.

That’s why most of our coffee is sourced through the Rainforest Alliance. While less well known, this newer organisation is working directly with the farmers to show them how to leverage their role in the industry for better bargaining that comes from them.

It’s the difference between giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish, and we’re proud to support the Rainforest Alliance in this important effort. We encourage you to join us and lend them your support too, and after all, in return?

You’ll get some excellent coffee.