Está en la página 1de 3

Shaikh

Sohail Shaikh (sms4724)


RHE 309K
29 January 2015
Fair Trade and Sustainability
Sustaining the growth of coffee has become a worldwide issue over the years, primarily
because coffee is one of the worlds most widely traded commodities and it is the leader in
sustainability experience (Giovannucci, 2). For this reason, coffee became the center of
conversation for many of the discussions related to sustainable commodities. In both Seeking
Sustainability and Fair Trade: Three Key Challenges for Reaching the Mainstream, the
authors discuss the definition of sustainability and how its initiative, Fair Trade, has impacted
coffee overall. Giovannucci and Potts discuss how commodities production and trade is
influenced by multiple factors such as public and private choices. Government regulations,
policies, and laws of different regions impact how coffee is traded throughout the world.
One of the growing issues with Fair Trade is that its definition is skewed as the
commodity continues to grow. At different stages of production, varying laws apply, causing Fair
Trade to sometimes not be the optimal solution. Amongst many private standards, Fair Trade was
one to emerge to help promote sustainable development. By engaging in both Giovannucci and
Hiras work, we see that sustainable production and Fair Trade are in some form of a hierarchy
Fair Trade being a subset of sustainable production. Fair Trade stems from the private choice,
which mainly address quality, safety standards, globalized supply chains, and cost-driven
procurement. However, Hira defines fair trade as a movement to integrate ethical principles in
consumer decision-making. Ethics are just one part of sustainable production, amongst
economic value, consumer popularity, and environmental welfare.

Shaikh

Along with the discussions of Fair Trade, Giovannucci and Hira discuss the impacts of
sustainability standards on various stakeholders and communities. Potts mentions how some
sustainability standards were actually defined by leading coffee companies such as Nestle and
Starbucks. The good thing that came out of these leading market holders was that they were able
to raise public awareness and make some trading practices transparent. However, as these
companies grew into the billion dollar markets, a growing concern whether these organizations
were following the rules that they had originally set for the industry, emerged. It is difficult to
point out exactly who is at fault when it comes to weak Fair Trade or Organic production of
coffee. On one side the consumer industry could be blamed since they do not purchase enough
coffee that comes from more privately regulated areas. Due to the lack of consumer market,
many farmers who could potentially be more economically independent are stuck in the old ways
of coffee production, which happens to pay significantly less.
Giovannucci and Hira point out some stakeholders in their articles. COSA (Committee on
Sustainability Assessment) is working towards collecting data that could help show the realities
of sustainability initiatives and their effects on our society. COSAs main objective is to bring the
truth about various sustainability efforts to the public and see how much impact these
organizations have had. The consumer market itself is a stakeholder and the goal is to minimize
the cost of coffee throughout the world. Minimizing the cost does not intend that the quality must
decrease, but rather ensures that production meets the demands of consumers.
In general, the communities still do not know too much about the impacts of
sustainability standards, especially once the consumer facing companies scale up and meet
market demands. This information is important in determining what the future steps will be to
ensure that a sustainable market is present.

Shaikh

Bibliography
Giovannucci, Daniele, and Jason Potts. Seeking Sustainability: COSA Preliminary Analysis of
Sustainability Initiatives in the Coffee Sector. Committee on Sustainability Assessment:
Winnipeg, Canada. 2008.
Hira, Anil, and Jared Ferrie. Fair Trade: Three Key Challenges for Reaching the Mainstream.
Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 63, No. 2, 107-118. Springer. 2006.