Friday, October 9, 2009

Interesting responses, I'd love to hear more

Thanks for the interesting responses to my question. In case you didn't catch it, and are too tired to click over, I asked whether you drink Starbucks coffee, and if so why? Do you care that it is fair trade? Do you buy fair trade products in general?

I thought I would repost the responses here, so you can join in the conversaton too. Here are some thoughts to get you started...

Michelle"I never patronage the establishment. I don't drink coffee."

Judy: I was fortunate to have met Mrs. "Starbucks" in Tanzania. That company is extremely philanthropical. I saw IT in action!

Podge "I like the idea of fair trade products in theory... But to answer the initial question I don't drink Starbucks. I would rather give the three bucks to my local coffee shop who is an owner operator on their own, living and working in my area. If they happen to use Fair trade beans that's an added bonus but I am a firm beliver that your own back yard is as good a place as any to make change. So I will ask my cafe mate if he can use Fair trade beans and if it means an extra 10 cents on my coffee I will happliy pay that, but if it's an extra 50 cents to a dollar, I would have to really consider the cost v's the claimed benifits that fair trade makes, as the reults are not visible to a 1st world consumer in reality are they? The doubter in me always thinks some one is making a buck prior to the farmer getting a fair go, and the whole certification process... and commonly higher product costs are not the work of the coffee farmer in Africa, PNG or S America. Some one is making a profit by "Going Fair" so to speak." (excerpted. Full response is here)

Lynn: I don't know if Starbucks is truly fair trade (and you don't even have to pick on them...are any of the coffee brands that SAY they're fair trade actually fair?)....that's the thing: as a consumer, it's very hard to know where the products come from and how they are made and the conditions they are made in, and how the workers are paid and treated...then there's the environmental impact of manufacturing and transporting the product and the genetic modifications to to foods... Then there's the other complicating factor that you're alluding to in this note...whether the term "fair trade" has been co-opted by marketers and unscrupulous business people so that it really has no meaning any more.

I want to buy products that meet my philosophical goals of good working/pay conditions for workers and gentle on the environment, but it is hard...

It can get overwhelming very quickly.

That's why I was so happy to find Shona. Through the supporting materials Dawn shares with the customer, I felt I could buy with confidence, as they say, feeling like my money was going to directly to craftspeople who both really needed it, and deserved it, for the quality of their work.
But you're right in raising the issue Dawn, about how people feel about the term fair trade. It has been degraded by too much use...I still have friends who say, "but how do you KNOW those Congolese women are getting the money?"... (except. Full Comment is here)

hmm, that is quite a question.... for me, its always a balance of things - such as cost, organic, fair trade, local... I could buy local produce sprayed with toxic chemicals to avoid the co2 emissions associated with transportation, or go for the fair trade organic from Peru or wherever - and sometimes you can't get both fair trade and organic. ... Read MoreAnd I am not sure how any of the labeling is controlled, as you say if it says fair trade - what does that mean? Same with "cage free" eggs, I just assume they do less harm, but have no idea what the standards are for cage free.

As for Starbucks - I do drink their coffee - my only reason is that it is the cheapest coffee on campus - 53cents to refill my travel mug - next lowest price is around $1.25, and for me, that's a lot of money

Ha! The cheapest?!?! Are you sure that isn't bootleg starbucks there, Meaghan? :)

I'll chime in myself a bit later, but I wanted to share some of these comments with you all first. And I'd love to here more of your thoughts as well.

1 comment:

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