Fair Trade Coffee Benefits

The concept of fair trade coffee began in the Netherlands in 1988 at a time when coffee prices were severely depressed. Many coffee farmers could not make a living because they could not sell their coffee or sold at a loss. Initially, fair trade certification was meant to artificially raise the prices for local coffee farmers to protect them from devastating market fluctuations. The first fair trade coffee benefits were to small farmers and cooperatives that were able to make a profit and thus stay in the businesses that their families had run for generations. From the Netherlands the fair trade movement spread across the globe. Today Fair Trade International is the main certifying organization while Fair Trade USA is an American competitor and Fair Trade America is allied with the international organization. Today there are more fair trade coffee benefits to coffee farmers as the movement has matured.

Better Farming, Better Living, Better Coffee and Better Prices with Fair Trade

Fair trade organizations need to market the coffee that they buy from fair trade certified farmers. They need to sell coffee at a higher price than the market for regular coffee in order to pass the benefits back to the coffee grower. This is most easily accomplished when the coffee farmer is producing high quality coffee, especially healthy organic coffee, shade grown coffee or shade grown organic coffee. And because many local coffee farmers do not know what is required for organic coffee certification the fair trade organizations put in place programs to teach them sustainable agriculture. Thus the first of the fair trade coffee benefits is better and more sustainable coffee farming. Fair trade organizations also insist on restriction of child labor and availability of education and health care for children. So, the second of the fair trade coffee benefits are better and healthier living.

Sustainable agricultural practices preserve the land, protect the water table, and result in a better cup of coffee with fewer unnecessary impurities. Better coffee from healthier land is the third of the fair trade coffee benefits. And, of course, the original of the fair trade coffee benefits still stands. Coffee farmers and farm cooperatives receive a better price for the coffee they sell as fair trade certified.

Fair Trade Coffee Benefits for the Consumer

If you believe in the conservation of natural resources then you believe in things like organic coffee, sustainable farming practices, and stewardship of the land. These are things that fair trade organizations promote. They teach and they certify coffee farmers whose coffee they market. When that coffee ends up in your coffee cup, you are supporting their efforts to make the earth a better place and improve the lives of small coffee farmers in places like the mountains of Ethiopia, Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, or Panama where coffee is grown. You do not need to go to these places to help these folks nor do you need to send them money. What you can do is buy their coffee at a fair trade price and they will take care of the rest.

And if you like high quality Arabica gourmet coffee that is commonly a benefit of buying fair trade certified coffee. When coffee farmers learn better stewardship of the land they also learn to make better coffee. And when they can reliably get their high quality Arabica coffee fair trade certified they can get a better price. And then they plant more high quality coffee, grow more high quality coffee and sell more high quality coffee that eventually ends up in your coffee cup. The end game of fair trade coffee benefits for you, the coffee consumer, is a reliable supply of great coffee.

Fair Trade Organizations

Fair Trade International certifies fair trade coffee and many other products.

Fair trade is an alternative approach to conventional trade based on a partnership between producers and traders, businesses and consumers. The international Fairtrade system – made up of Fairtrade International and its member organizations – represents the world’s largest and most recognized fair trade system.

Look for the Fair Trade International logo when buying coffee.


To achieve the benefits of fair trade coffee look for the Fair Trade International Logo

Fair Trade International Logo


Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA left the international organization and set up separately in the USA. You can also look for the Fair Trade USA logo when looking for fair trade coffee.

Fair Trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first.

We at Fair Trade USA believe that everyone wants to do what’s right – for their families, fellow global citizens, and the planet. That’s why we’re committed to making the right choices the most obvious ones. Based on the simple idea that the products we buy and sell are connected to the livelihoods of others, Fair Trade is a way to make a conscious choice for a better world. A choice for Fair Trade Certified™ goods is a choice to support responsible companies, empower farmers, workers, and fishermen, and protect the environment. In other words, it’s a world-changing way of doing business.


In the USA look for the Fair Trade Certified seal for great fair trade coffee

Fair Trade USA


Fair Trade America

When Fair Trade USA left the international organization Fair Trade America came into being and retained their affiliation with Fair Trade International.

You have the power to make a difference every day with Fairtrade.

It’s about choosing Fairtrade products that change lives, a simple way to support the people growing the things we love to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

In the end each of these organizations works to provide fair trade coffee benefits to growers and consumers as well as the earth we live on.


Fair Trade America provides Fair Trade coffee benefits for farmers.

Fair Trade America Logo


Other Certifications with Similar Missions

Although these are not specifically fair trade organizations both UTZ and Rainforest Alliance work to improve conditions for farmers including coffee farmers. They educate and gradually bring their farmers up to standard for coffee and other agricultural products. They both work to improve coffee grower income and lives and they work to preserve the natural habitat while providing you with a great cup of coffee.


UTZ Certified Coffee Seal

UTZ Helps Organic Coffee Farmers

Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance

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