2011 Challenge: Make Every Cup Matter

01/10/2011 - 5:31 PM

Can you pledge to make every cup of coffee or tea that you drink a Fair Trade Certified cup?

Sure, why not? After all, Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea taste great and help the the farmers who produce these popular beverages better support their families and improve their communities for generations to come.  When you choose Fair Trade, you are making your daily cup of coffee or tea go the extra mile.  You are voting with your dollars for a more ethical system of trade, one that protects and supports people on all ends of the supply chain - from the small family farmer in Peru or Indonesia or the tea leaf picker in India to the coffee shop owner in your hometown.

Make it a Fair Trade Certified Cup

Ok, we’re the first to admit that finding Fair Trade Certified products can sometimes feel like a scavenger hunt.  That’s why we’ve asked you to commit to converting your daily cup of coffee and tea this year.  Of all of the more than 100 categories of Fair Trade Certified products available in the United States, coffee and tea are thus the most prevalent.  In fact, you can now find Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea in nearly every grocery chain, in most coffee shops and in many restaurants.

Drink Fair Trade Certified Coffee & Tea at Home

Stocking up on Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea at your house is one of the easiest ways to support Fair Trade.  First, look for it at your local grocery store - chances are, it’s there.  However, if the store doesn’t carry it, make sure to fill out a comment card or ask to speak to the manager.  Many stores have product request forms at the checkout, so you can use this as an opportunity to request your favorite Fair Trade Certified coffee or tea.  And while your at it, request Fair Trade Certified bananas, sugar, chocolate, etc.  Many times store managers don’t know that their consumers want Fair Trade, so they don’t stock it regularly.  Filling out comment cards and product request forms is a simple action that show that you care. On the same note, if your local grocery store does stock Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea, you can show your appreciation by writing a Thank You message on a comment card.  It never hurts to confirm your satisfaction!

If you prefer a specialty coffee or tea, you might be able to buy whole beans at your local coffee shop.  This is a great way to support a local business and buy Fair Trade at the same time.  And, if all else fails, almost all coffee roasters sell their coffee online.  This is a great option if you’re looking for a really special coffee or tea that might not be available to you locally.  Just type “Fair Trade Certified coffee” into your favorite search engine” and your caffeine fix will be obtained in 5-7 business days.

Now that your pantry is stocked with Fair Trade Certified coffee and/or tea, it’s time to impress your guests!  When you serve these ethically-traded beverages, make sure to share the stories of where the beans or tea leaves came from and the importance of Fair Trade.  If you know the origin country of the product, you can look at our Fair Trade producer profiles to find out how the communities in that country have use their Fair Trade premiums.

Order Fair Trade at Restaurants and Cafes

This one requires just a little bit of investigative work on your part, but nothing you can’t handle!  Because it’s not always stated on the menu, when you order your drink you should always ask it it’s Fair Trade Certified.  If it is, make sure to show your appreciation and order the drink.  If not, go ahead, you can still order the drink and explain the importance of Fair Trade to the waiter.  After the meal, ask for a comment card so that you can express your desire to see Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea on the menu in the future.  As with grocery stores, restaurant managers might not be aware that their customers want Fair Trade, so it is important to show your interest by asking for it wherever you dine out.

Fair Trade your Office, School or Place of Worship

Offices and schools serve a lot of coffee and tea.  What if we could get more of them to switch to Fair Trade Certified?  Imagine the difference that would make!  Fair Trade-ing your organization is often easier than it sounds.  In most cases, all you have to do is find out who is responsible for making beverage purchasing decisions and send them a letter requesting that they switch to Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea. If they need help finding a new supplier, suggest that they contact info@fairtradeusa.org and we’ll provide some options that will work with any budget. Be sure to explain what Fair Trade is and the difference that could be made in the lives of thousands of coffee farmers and tea workers with this simple switch.  Visit this link to get ideas on how to influence your office, school or place of worship to go Fair Trade in 2011.

01/10/2011 - 5:31 PM
01/10/2011 - 5:31 PM