starbucks coffee farmers exploitation

Coffee farmers rang the alarm bell this week due to the price of coffee beans dropping to a dramatic low. This sort of top-down CSR program is fundamentally not set up to address the issues that lead to workers laboring in slavery-like conditions on coffee farms. Finally, fair trade standards set the stage for farmer-led community development. A campaign by Ethiopia to get a fair price for its coffee - some of the world's finest - kicks off in London today as a spokesman for the east African country's impoverished coffee growers meets Tony Blair. Large-scale plantations have amassed their land and market dominance through a sustained history of theft. Inequality isn’t a new thing in the long, dark history of coffee. Small-scale farmers built cooperatives, organized to gain economies of scale and a little bit of leverage. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat to children is even greater with poverty on the rise and schools shuttered. There is plenty of coffee from farmers who have already gone through the work of getting certified. According to Starbucks, the Fartura farm has been certified since 2016, but the firm denied having “purchased or received any coffee from this farm in recent years. Practices. Yes, like other commenter’s post questions here, we need to know sources (whether “news media” and or diligent and or scientific reports); yet as well if one is buying products that travel major distances, one must invest some major degree to know and support the positive efforts. No nation can call itself truly prosperous until the vast majority of it’s citizens are prosperous. Let Starbucks know that you don’t want slave labor to fill your cup: Send them an email here. You regularly state above that C.A.F.E. Suppliers are misleading retailers and consumers alike. The UK charity says Starbucks asked the National Coffee Association (NCA) to block the country's bid to trademark three types of coffee … And thus, when we advocate for the industry to support small-scale farmers and fair trade, it is not merely about doing better corporate social responsibility. I appreciate the practical solutions you gave for all of us to have a part in being part of the solution. El Departamento de la Comida is reinvigorating Puerto Rico’s local food systems with a community-controlled seed supply—and deepening Boricua communities’ relationship to food and cultural identity. Plenty of people who are far wiser than I am continue to be confounded by the questions. NAIROBI, Kenya — Millions of family farmers across Africa are facing economic devastation as coffee prices offered to them continue to be on a downward trajectory, often below production costs: this is according to the Misery at the Farm: Africa’s Coffee Farmers are Losing Billions to Exploitation report just released by Selina Wamucii. Blogs and social media are full to the brim with roasters, retailers, distributors and wholesalers all saying the same thing, namely that coffee right now is about as far from sustainable as it could possibly be. Phone: (800) 631-9980 Practices standards have no minimum guaranteed price. In our recent report, Fairness for Farmers, we note that “Just three companies roast 40% of the world’s coffee and five companies control over half of the trade in coffee,” citing data from 2014. Earlier this month, coffee farmers from the Mount Kenya region came out in the hundreds to protest against the market exploitation they say they have faced for years. Sloppy work Anna. This week, Brazil and Colombia, who together produce half of the world’s coffee, published a joint statement affirming the fact that farmers are forced to sell their coffee … This is not good journalism. For years, despite calls to commit to fair trade, Starbucks’ commitment lagged. 72% of coffee from fair trade cooperatives gets sold outside the fair trade market. As of now, I haven’t seen updates on this case except that Starbucks said they aren’t buying anymore. Pioneer Valley Worker Center (PVWC) exists to “build power with low-wage and immigrant workers.” Today, they’re connecting workers to the resources they need to build economic justice in their communities. To a certain degree, the same situation applies for the tea industry. That’s probably less coffee than you drink in a year.**. And that value is, of course, only generated after roasting. Ethiopia’s coffee industry and farmers could earn an estimated $88 million (USD) extra per year. Debilitating workdays: workers subjected to workdays that go far beyond normal overtime and threaten their physical integrity. We’re having this conversation because Nestlé just announced that they are […]. Starbucks strongly believes in the importance of building mutually-beneficial relationships with coffee farmers and coffee communities with which we work. Starbucks currently operates Farmer Support Centers in key coffee producing countries around the world, from Costa Rica to Rwanda to China. adds some transparency then I think that could be a benefit. Practices. The employees there are working like dogs ( any idiot can see it) I’m just a customer driving through the line, no special interest, Just Humane) Come on people, let’s get with it and see what small thing we can all do to end ALL THE SLAVERY and INSANITY both here in America and in other countries. Instead, consolidation in the coffee industry continues to grow. Brazil, however, has a long history of large-scale coffee production. Hear from the Native-led initiative that is protecting it. 1 Brazilian Article 149 identifies four elements as constitutive of conditions analogous to slavery: Prices are at a 15-year low, slavery conditions are regularly exposed, and child labour is widespread – all as a result of the pitiful amounts paid to producers. Practices program is not equal to solving it—or even to bringing the problem to light. Exploitation of Africa’s Coffee Family Farmers from Fair Earnings While the Rest of the Coffee Supply Chain Players Enjoy Healthy Margins. Mr. 5.4 billion starbucks cares for no one but himself. The market’s at $2.50 (per pound for commodity coffee) today vs. the 40 cents or 50 cents (per pound) it was at in 2001,” says Dennis Macray, former director of global sustainability at Starbucks Coffee Co. The low prices paid to coffee farmers by Starbucks forces children to work on their family farms, with an alarming two million children in the Sidamo area alone working an average of 29.9 hours per week6.Whilst people may not hesitate to spend $3 on a latte, many are unaware that this simple expense is the equivalent to the daily wage of a Starbucks Central American coffee picker7. Too much power in the control of greedy hands. That shiny ethical veneer is significantly watered down from the fair trade commitment they couldn’t make: Further, labor advocates (and our own Justice in the Fields report) have emphasized that an annual inspection is inadequate to ensure that workers are protected on plantations and large farms. **The math here: In the U.S., average coffee consumption is three 8oz. Here’s the conundrum, the one unavoidable truth: Whilst the farmer is removed from the supply chain before any value is derived, this will just get worse. Start by Addressing Corporate Capitalism, Puerto Rico: Home of the Department of Food, Keeping the Sacred, Sacred: The Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative, Community as Capital: How One Worker Center is Sowing the Seeds of Justice. More on that here: https://fairworldproject.org/how-do-we-end-child-labor-start-by-addressing-corporate-capitalism/. It has been made difficult to be as sure about “certified organics” and some yet not all of the “fair trade” certifiers since the monUSDAsanto and syngentas got too deeply interested in largely gutting / looking other way the healthy and genuinely concerned of agricultural and health concerns; yet Fairworld Project among many other people are helping and genuinely trying for overcoming those negatives. Contact Us, Copyright 2010-2018 Fair World Project, Inc. | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Site Credits. Friday, June 12th, is World Day Against Child Labor. Required fields are marked *, Can Nestle and Cargill be held responsible for the child labor in their supply chains? And Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. C.A.F.E. Reference Guide to Fair Trade and Worker Justice Certifications, Farmworker Certification Analysis: Justice in the Fields, Fair Trade Certification Report: Fairness for Farmers, Fyffes Farms Exposed: Workers’ Rights Abuses, reports tying Starbucks to a plantation where workers were forced to work live and work in filthy conditions, dire conditions on another plantation certified to Starbucks’ standards, Fair trade purchases peaked in 2014 at 8.6% of coffee, 80% of coffee is grown by small-scale farmers, expanding their production on the backs of thousands of enslaved people brought from Africa, Farmers are earning the same amount for their crop now as they did 20 years ago, The low prices are creating a crisis in coffee, as detailed in an earlier post, report on labor conditions in Brazil’s coffee sector, the ever-volatile commodity market, which was hitting 14-year highs and hovering around $2.40 per pound. When people (producers, certifiers, / supply chains, public or private officials) harm by their actions / repeatedly don’t do right when they have taken on / report that they are certifying proper / healthy actions, both dropping their products as distributors or consumers is as important as employing systems of justice. When coffee farmers struggle to make ends meet, the danger of exploitation and violence increases for many poor coffee pickers and their children. We can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening. Nestlé continues to be one of the biggest in the coffee market with classic names like Nescafe and Taster’s Choice. I believe, the only lasting solution will be when our Creator, Jehovah God, would brings true justice to all His creation, under God’s Kingdom. One of them has paid for that coffee months ago (and possibly borrowed money from the bank to do it), one of them may not have even paid for the coffee yet. The Starbucks plantation where workers endured deplorable conditions carried more than one ethical certification (their own C.A.F.E Practices label and UTZ Certified). With minimum prices and premium funds that are democratically controlled by farmers and their cooperatives, fair trade offers a model to do this (when defined by the terms of a strong, farmer-controlled certification such as Fairtrade International or SPP). One of those steps is publishing an annual “Dirty List” of those found in violation of Brazilian law and what they have defined as modern slavery: forced labor, debt bondage, dangerous and degrading conditions, and debilitating work days. Yet as this so-called market niche has grown, so too have the many who would cash in on consumer’s goodwill. In days where “the ceo” or whatever title Mr. S (Of S.+bucks corp) gives himself, nevermind thinks of their self as being legitimate about democracy and other floundered / shattered ideals we in the USA have been touting to be about, nevermind the facade of fair trade (nevermind toxic synthetic chemicals ridden product/peoples), nevermind the likely (i try no longer to follow W-streets’ news so much) high double digits shareholder payouts (‘dividends’ / tax write offs, etc) or if one of the low low effective corporate tax rates some of the giants o industrialized food stuffs is like many and effectively near zero, especially when factoring in the too usual toxic effects & costs of overly processed / synthetic chemical laden ingredients that are frequently priced by demand by populace of customers increasingly diabetic prone to be asleep / being put-to-sleep by and while standing in lines for largely local-killing, unsustainable, too often near slave labor, overly high processed often far flung side ingredients. Degrading conditions: people lodged in substandard housing and/or without access to personal protective equipment, decent food or water at the work fronts. This threatens the already fragile existence of 25 million farming families worldwide. Fair World Project (FWP) is a non-profit that advocates for fair trade policies that supports small-scale farmers, artisans and workers by promoting organic and fair trade practices and transparent third-party certification. Coffee farmers are in crisis, thanks in part to falling prices. Rigged auctions or commodity exchange pricing are both artificial price indicators. A cup of Starbucks may be sold at $4 but many coffee farmers in Ethiopia and other developing countries live at less than a dollar per day. Psalms 37:28, Your email address will not be published. For two decades, advocates have pressured the world’s biggest coffee shop chain to clean up their supply chains. Overall, it seems clear that their standards & systems are not up to actually addressing the root causes of the problem – you can’t “fix” poverty if you don’t pay fair prices to start! Overall, the Brazilian labor ministry reports that workers toiling in slavery-like working conditions was at a 15-year high in 2018. The low prices are creating a crisis in coffee, as detailed in an earlier post. Fairtrade coffee empowers small-scale farmers organized in democratically-run cooperatives to invest in their farms and communities, protect the environment, and develop the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. Access to cash is a key issue when talking about coffee. It is not clear how much Starbucks currently pays for their coffee. Committed fair trade companies like Equal Exchange have made this a cornerstone of their sourcing, meaning that they are paying for part of their coffee months in advance of receiving it. While fair trade standards require coffee to be grown by small-scale farmers organized in cooperatives, there is no such requirement for C.A.F.E. To understand the failings of Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Such a system is in no way equipped to protect workers—or meet its own claims of “ethical” practices. Granted these types of companies, like many since before the Fake “green revolution” of modern ag econ was just going with the flow of other cancerous growth corps that helped addict customers to false sense of great products at low prices (ie, the heavy animal fed of slash and burn or gmo soy and chemical ridden cafo feed besides the near slave labor / unhealthy high processed sugars, etc….. the array of lab synthetic chemical inputs). Anna, See the connection between Monsanto, Bill Gates and you will see what this company is really all about. Csta Ria has a strong safety net with exellent health care and education, but it is not reaching farm workers particularly Nicaraguans whose large numbers are overwhelming some social service agencies and public opinion and support is moving away from helping these groups so their condtions may worsen. Phone: (800) 631-9980 It’s high time for Starbucks to drop the pretense of “99% ethical” and commit to real fair trade and small-scale farmers. They fail to protect workers, fail to make lasting change, and fail to live up to the trust that consumers put in their ethical claims. And not just any plantations, but ones that have been “certified” to Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Does Anna Canning have a single case study example of a particular plantation that uses “slave labor” or is she relying on a second hand source without citation? To call on Starbucks to support small-scale farmers is to demand that they do their part to shift this system rooted in exploitation. Pick a day, or just celebrate the whole weekend! These three points are just a few ways that C.A.F.E. Starbucks is … ), people of course in land of genuine democracy (if that’s still viable description of USA) and general plentifullness and or well developed abilities / embracing genuine education that doesn’t tell people to lose or put their senses to sleep, in this type of place as much as it can be distractfully harmful we have self and world interests to be more loyal to what we, deep down, know what is right and great instead of cheap or toxic look the other way or numb consumer base. The principle of justice and fairness is also violated. Starbucks seems horribly dishonest when they portray their coffee as Fair Trade. What do we need to do so these headlines are not still cropping up 15 years from now? Their last published report, in 2011, cited $2.38 per pound—about the same as the ever-volatile commodity market, which was hitting 14-year highs and hovering around $2.40 per pound. The corporate misdeeds of Starbucks don't stop just at the coffee fields on the backs of the oppressed. The American coffee chain Starbucks Coffee Corporation, which was widely reported in the media to have been a driving force behind the NCA objection, publicly offered to assist the EIPO in setting up a national system of certification marks to enable the farmers to protect and market their coffee as “robust” geographical indications. (in that comment, i was referring to Mr. S of S.bucks having shown interest to run for public office), (High percentage of such products that “put to sleep” albeit while buttressed by caffeine and high processed sugars for the likely short term burn / long term ill health for many, including the people that grow the ingredients), (Sorry i didn’t edit well / make briefer), Btw, in some of their (Starbucks) stores, i knew of some very nice people working with this company as well as the relatively few that put lots of (internal) effort to help make the company much better in righting their ships’ directions and daily practices with much concern for holistic health of the company’s relationships. Know the certifiers. Starbucks has been making news as evidence of forced labor emerges on one of the plantations that they buy from in Brazil. One of the key fair trade principles (and a standard in fair trade certifications) is for roasters to provide pre-harvest financing to coffee farmers on request. In the more recent case, labor inspectors found workers in similarly dire conditions on another plantation certified to Starbucks’ standards. The massive JAB Holding Company now owns not just Keurig Green Mountain, Caribou and Peet’s Coffees but specialty coffee companies like Intelligentsia and Stumptown Coffee Roasters, as well as Krispy Kreme, Snapple, Dr. Pepper, and several coffee-intensive bagel chains like Einstein Bros.’ and Bruggers’ Bagels. The USPTO has denied Ethiopia’s applications for Sidamo and Harar, creating serious obstacles for its project. That’s the one thing stopping coffee production becoming a sustainable business – the very people shouting their ethical credentials loudest are the same ones contributing to these problems in the first place. Home | Low Prices and Exploitation: Recurring Themes in Coffee. This marks the second time in nine months that this has happened, pointing to a huge systemic problem with the way Starbucks is meeting their commitment to “99% ethical coffee.” It’s time for that to change. Introduction. Debt bondage: workers are tied to labor intermediaries and/or landowners by illegal debts related to expenses on transportation, food, lodging and work equipment. Practices standards differ from fair trade, but they get to the heart of the issue: Is the goal to change the system of trade or to make someone feel good about their cup of coffee? Even after slavery was abolished in the late 1880s, the same imbalance of power remains with a few landowners controlling huge amounts of land and many, many more people left landless and exploited for their labor. Fair World Project (FWP) is a non-profit that advocates for fair trade policies that supports small-scale farmers, artisans and workers by promoting organic and fair trade practices and transparent third-party certification. Farmer-led SPP (Simbolo Pequeno Productores, or Small Producers Symbol) sets their minimum at $2.20. I have been doing a lot of research on slavery for personal interest ( and I do mean a lot as I am using my Covid time to complete my degree) because I was largely unaware of the slavery happening world-wide and a lot of the programs mentioned here. It’s International Coffee Day*, which seems like a good time to reflect on the state of the coffee industry. Farmers’ shares in the roasted coffee value chain are higher outside of Africa with India’s coffee growers getting 15.7% in India and 14.9% in Brazil. While brewing methods vary, a really rough rule of thumb calculation would be that you could get 1 gallon of coffee per pound. *** Yet too often these top-down, corporate-led attempts to cleanup supply chains fail. C.A.F.E. The meeting will be accompanied by a screening of the film Black Gold - a movie on the global coffee industry - to MPs at Westminster, who will also be addressed by the Ethiopian … Start by Addressing Corporate Capitalism, Puerto Rico: Home of the Department of Food, Keeping the Sacred, Sacred: The Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative, Community as Capital: How One Worker Center is Sowing the Seeds of Justice. Thank you for bringing this articles to light. Instead, industry watchers are pointing to a consequence that is perhaps even more troubling: the extension of payment terms that these coffee giants are demanding from their supply chain partners. Farmer Loan Programs. Your email address will not be published. For example, Harar and Sidamo are sold at coffee shops for $24 – $26 per pound but farmers … Our Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices, or C.A.F.E. Practices standards. Coffee farmers receive 7-10 percent of the retail price of coffee sold in supermarkets12. Put another way, 72% of coffee from fair trade cooperatives gets sold outside the fair trade market. Thanks also for caring for the benefits of others. That is the question in […], Rainforest Alliance certification is not fair trade. Hear from the Native-led initiative that is protecting it. This sort of arrangement is key in supporting producers and sharing a bit of the risk—and the cost of financing. This consolidation hasn’t directly translated into lower prices for farmers directly—yet. I will say that I am not Pro-corporate in any circumstance. Once again, Brazilian labor inspectors have found slave labor1 on plantations where Starbucks buys coffee. Fail to address the root causes, and once again the symptoms recur. It is not clear how much Starbucks currently pays for their coffee. If a company makes barely any progress on an ethical commitment for over a decade and then rewrites the standards and checks off the goal—that seems suspect, right? You are happily spending $5-10$ for a coffee where there are literally families subject to slavery conditions in Brazil that are may be making $14.00 a month. This summer’s headlines could easily have been stories from 15 years ago when I first entered the worlds of coffee and fair trade: Coffee prices have been falling lower and lower, below $1/pound on the global commodity markets. One thought on “ Issue Series: Exploitation of Coffee Farmers ” nicoleleighp says: March 10, 2018 at 12:54 am There is a lot to be said about exploited farmers and I think this is a really great issue to cover in the coffee world. Coffee is one of the world’s top traded commodities, ranked highly among products like crude oil, gold, and natural gas. 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