A recent TIME article discussed the Fair Trade coffee, asking if it is really making a difference. Fair Trade was originally set up to get more money to farmers and farm workers who grow coffee. We have all heard about how capitalism has a trickle down effect, this is the basic idea. The coffee is purchased and sold at a premium and the money is meant to trickle back to the growers. However the reality is that once the farmers pay the Fair Trade co-operative fees the Fair Trade deal is only marginally better than the "standard" one and still leaves the farmer in poverty. Farmers say that Fair Trade prices have not kept up with cost increases.
In light of Starbucks recent move towards Fair Trade, it's time we the consumer asked questions about which companies are really helping end poverty and which are only using as greenwashing.