Here are some of the common questions we’re asked and some short answers – these can often be involved and complex discussions so please do ask more.
We believe fair trade is a concept, a heart value, not a badge or a brand. We're somewhat amused by companies who offer a 'fair trade option' - it's either something you believe in and value or not. It's not an option just to take advantage of a market opportunity.
The FAIRTRADE Mark is a brand - a consumer label, but there are others such as RAINFOREST ALLIANCE and UTZ CERTIFIED who all seek to guarantee a better deal for disadvantaged producers in the developing world.
However, we see giving producers a “better deal” as the minimum and by no means the maximum.
Read more about the fairtrade discussion below or through our journal and article links.
When we started out we thought they would, but as we learned more about coffee farming and the Fairtrade criteria we had to make a decision - do we want to genuinely do the right thing and help farmers, or just be seen to do the right thing with a label on all our bags?
As time has moved on and we have built those long-term relationships the improvement in livelihoods because of our trade is abudantly evident and we are justified on our decision in the early days.
We have also been part of various research projects, articles and books that have both investigated us to see if we are who we say we are, and corroborated our stance on direct trade.
This is a long and complex conversation, and we have a lot to say about it. We encourage questioning and discussion to hold us accountable and help us all learn firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe being ethical is more than just "fair trade", it covers our entire business.
We start by sourcing our coffee direct from the producer wherever possible and developing long-term relationships.
We always pay at least ‘fair trade' prices to the farmers and more often than not we pay in excess of fair trade.
From day one we have set out to run a transparent business. This will include who we work with, what we give away and why we do what we do.
We not only pay a fair price but invest in the lives and communities of farmers through social projects like hydro-electric power, efficient wood-burning stoves, reforestation, and fresh water pipes. See our projects page.
Being ethical is about day-to-day life so we do try and recycle everything we can from paper to banana skins and composting coffee grounds! In fact there's a lot we do to take our responsibility for the environment seriously.
Ethics affect our pricing - competitive and profitable without being greedy.
Ethics affect our service to you. We aim to excel in customer service.
The future . . . we're dreaming about what more we can do.
We call our coffee 'direct trade' where we have established a relationship direct with the farms.
We often find ourselves working directly with producers on the ground and we always pay equal or higher than “fairtrade prices” with the understanding that this will be a direct benefit to the farmers. However we believe that this is direct fair trade. We've produced a simple two-minute video that explains what we mean by farm direct coffee.
Direct trade gives you a connection to the farm, the people who grow your coffee. Direct trade gives you a real story to share with your customers.
Direct trade means we know the people who work hard for our great coffee and we know we've helped them improve their standard of living in a real and sustainable way. Read more on our ethos page.
It also gives us amazing opportunities to invest in social projects to transform lives - see our news stories.
This is a long debate that can't fully be entered into here but take a look at the IEA report for some insightful research and facts supporting the principles behind who we are and what we do.
Of further interest to those who want to explore ethical trade look at:
Our news and stories where we link recent articles etc
International trade consultant & Economist - Peter Griffiths
Author, Economist, Adventurer & TV Presenter - Conor Woodman - Book (2011) Unfair Trade: How Big Business Exploits the World's Poor
And loads more - just search!
If you have any queries or concerns please email us and ask!
Ask them! Ethical business can be big business and appearing to be doing the right thing can help sales. We care about who is actually doing the right thing. There are some other good companies who, in our opinion, stand up to scrutiny in their claims. There are a lot who do not.
Ask questions - What do they mean by 'ethically sourced'? From which farm? How much do they know about the supply chain? And, most importantly: Can they tell you how much the farmer got paid (not the trader)?
We agree, but it doesn’t need to be this way. This is why we’re in business. We wanted to buy great tasting ethical coffee but struggled. We found we either had to compromise our ethics or our taste buds, so we went about sourcing it ourselves direct from the farms.
We only choose coffee that cup above an 80 score (often much higher) on the internationally recognised scale meaning everything we have is specialty coffee. We don’t believe there needs to be a compromise in quality or taste to deliver premium ethical coffee.