A Guide to Ethical Coffee
Article by Brigid
Demand for Ethical Coffee in Northern Ireland and UK
Coffee suppliers in the UK have seen a substantial increase in demand for ethical coffee over recent years. And as a result, ethical world coffee is becoming widely available from UK coffee wholesalers, supplier and Roasters. Local coffee suppliers in Northern Ireland are also experiencing high demand with consumers opting for traceable coffee from ethical sources.
Coffee Beans – The Concerns
There are many ethical concerns facing coffee roasters in the UK when sourcing beans from other countries. Coffee beans are commonly produced in countries with poor working conditions and unsustainable farming conditions. Coffee Roasters in the UK opt for ethical and traceable sourced beans to ensure the following practices do not occur in coffee production;
Child slavery is one of the most prevalent problems in production. Children are forced to work long hours and with heavy machinery and toxic agricultural chemicals. Often forced to work in these hazardous conditions from a very young age, these children do not go to school to gain a proper education.
Farmers are unable to control how much they receive for their produce. Large multinational organisations have the power to dictate world coffee prices and often pay well below production costs.
Deforestation is the result of the expansion of coffee farms around the world. Deforestation is a serious concern that is not only detrimental to the local environment but also one of the biggest contributors to climate control.
Farmers are able to increase productivity by using pesticides, insecticides and fertilizer. By using these solutions in the production, farmers become ill for the pollution in their soil and water.
Many worldwide organisation have been formed to encourage better working conditions and sustainable farming;
Fair Trade Coffee
Fair Trade is becoming the norm in the UK coffee market as more and more coffee roasters switch to ethical fair-trade sources. Fair Trade ensures that the local farmers and suppliers have received a fair price as well investment in the future of their communities. The Fair Trade Certification helps farmers and work farmers to escape poverty by providing them with the essential skills to compete in the global market. Many coffee suppliers and wholesaler as well as coffee roasters and independent cafes / shops are now promoting Fair Trade and according to The Fair Trade Council, the UK higher awareness and demand for Fair Trade than anywhere else.
The Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the improvement of working and social conditions. The Rainforest Alliance certifies coffee, as well as other products and services, when produced under certain standards. The Rainforest Alliance standards are intended to protect the environment and the rights of workers. The basic guidelines are called the Sustainable Agriculture Standard and additional specific rules apply to producers. The Rainforest Alliance’s certified coffee carries the seal of approval which is trusted by many coffee wholesaler and coffee roasters throughout the UK.
Organic Coffee is certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association and grown according to organic farming standards without the use of pesticides, herbicides or other artificial chemicals. The organisation puts much focus on promoting good plant health to boost productivity and protect against disease which makes it a favourite choice among UK coffee roasters. Farmers maintain a high quality of soil by fertilising with compost. They also ensure the soil is replenished regularly by rotating crops and scattering nutrient-rich fruit and nut trees throughout the plantation. Organic coffee is often grown in small family owned farms and tends to be more labour intensive. For that reason, organic certified farmers are paid an average of 15% more for their coffee beans than other coffee bean farmers.
Coffee Wholesale in the UK
Ethical coffee beans are slightly more expensive than conventionally sourced beans. Surprisingly the hike in price for the ethical variety of beans does not seem to be effecting the UK coffee wholesale industry. In fact, the coffee wholesale industry is welcoming this move because of the high consumer demand for the product. The increase in cost price as a knock-on result of ethical practices is easily compensated with a high consumer demand and an increase in recommended selling price.
Fair Trade, The Rainforest Alliance and Organic Crop Improvement Association are making much progress towards encouraging ethical practices and raising awareness. With the help of these organisations, poor working conditions and unsustainable farming conditions are becoming a thing of the past.
About the Author
Leading coffee suppliers in Northern Ireland, Bailies Coffee Company provide coffee wholesale in the UK to cafes and restaurants. The award winning UK coffee roasters also offer coffee shop supplies, coffee machine servicing and Barista training to UK and Ireland coffee trade customers. Their award winning hand roasted coffee can be purchased via their online shop.
Bailies Coffee is one of the leading coffee suppliers in Northern Ireland. The award winning UK coffee roasters supply coffee wholesale and offer coffee shop supplies, coffee machine servicing and Barista training to UK and Ireland trade customers.