Coffee Beans – The Concerns
There are many ethical concerns facing coffee roasters when sourcing beans from other countries. Coffee beans are commonly produced in countries with poor working conditions and unsustainable farming conditions. Coffee Roasters opt for ethical and traceable sourced beans to ensure the following practices do not occur in coffee production;
Child slavery is one of the most prevalent problems in production. Children are forced to work long hours and with heavy machinery and toxic agricultural chemicals. Often forced to work in these hazardous conditions from a very young age, these children do not go to school to gain a proper education.
Farmers are unable to control how much they receive for their produce. Large multinational organisations have the power to dictate world coffee prices and often pay well below production costs.
Deforestation is the result of the expansion of coffee farms around the world. Deforestation is a serious concern that is not only detrimental to the local environment but also one of the biggest contributors to climate control.
Farmers are able to increase productivity by using pesticides, insecticides and fertilizer. By using these solutions in the production, farmers become ill for the pollution in their soil and water.
Many worldwide organisation have been formed to encourage better working conditions and sustainable farming;
Fair Trade Coffee
Fair Trade is becoming the norm in the Australian coffee market as more and more coffee roasters switch to ethical fair-trade sources. Fair Trade ensures that the local farmers and suppliers have received a fair price as well investment in the future of their communities. The Fair Trade Certification helps farmers and work farmers to escape poverty by providing them with the essential skills to compete in the global market. Many coffee suppliers and wholesaler as well as coffee roasters and independent cafes / shops are now promoting Fair Trade and according to The Fair Trade Council, the UK higher awareness and demand for Fair Trade than anywhere else.
Organic Coffee is certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association and grown according to organic farming standards without the use of pesticides, herbicides or other artificial chemicals. The organisation puts much focus on promoting good plant health to boost productivity and protect against disease which makes it a favourite choice among Australian coffee roasters. Farmers maintain a high quality of soil by fertilising with compost. They also ensure the soil is replenished regularly by rotating crops and scattering nutrient-rich fruit and nut trees throughout the plantation. Organic coffee is often grown in small family owned farms and tends to be more labour intensive. For that reason, organic certified farmers are paid an average of 15% more for their coffee beans than other coffee bean farmers.
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