Coffee
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST
Enter Email
CONTRIBUTE TODAY
FOLLOW US ON
CURRENT CAMPAIGN

 

Analysis of selected coffee brands making eco-social claims about their coffee

~ Click on the logo to learn more about each coffee roaster ~

This analysis is designed to help consumers start to look beyond just a certification or seal and consider a brand’s overall practices when making purchases

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Equal Exchange has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade and engaging in social change.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model, part of an organization that reviews practices, uses third-party auditing to back up claims, and engages in policy transformation advocacy  

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Equal Exchange refers to their model of fair trade as authentic to distinguish their commitment to small-scale producer co-ops. They prioritize Small Producer Symbol certified coffee and for coffees not available from SPP coffees, they are certified by IMO’s Fair for Life.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Equal Exchange is a worker-owned co-operative that started as a company trying to give market opportunities to small-scale fair trade farmers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Equal Exchange committed to working only with democratically organized farmer co-operatives of small-scale growers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Equal Exchange is a Fair Trade Federation member. Also has publicly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Yes, Equal Exchange is a worker-owned cooperative.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Equal Exchange posts an annual report and full financial information, but not the price paid per pound for coffee.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Equal Exchange partners with farmer co-ops to build supply chains and support farmers needs and initiatives. They were one of the first roasters to commit to using the Small Producer Symbol. Equal Exchange also engages in initiatives to support promotion of co-ops at all levels of the supply chain and develops campaigns and educational materials on fair trade and related policy issues.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Just Coffee has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade and engaging in social change.

    FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model, part of an organization that reviews practices, uses third-party auditing to back up claims, and engages in policy transformation advocacy

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

They claim to work above the and beyond the minimum fair trade standards and focus on transparency, for example posting farmer contracts online. Through co-op coffees, most coffee purchased is from the fair trade registry, though they work directly only with the Small Producer Symbol to offer one SPP coffee.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Just Coffee is a worker-owned co-op that started to bring small-scale producer coffee to market when they could not find other roasters to buy it.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Just Coffee is dedicated to worker with small-scale producers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Just Coffee is a member of Co-op Coffees, a cooperative fair trade importer. Just Coffee stemmed from an understanding of how trade policies like NAFTA negatively impacted coffee farmers and they continue to support policies that support people, for example the repeal of the anti-homosexuality act in Uganda.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Just Coffee is dedicated to worker with small-scale producers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Just Coffee is a member of Co-op Coffees, a cooperative fair trade importer. Just Coffee stemmed from an understanding of how trade policies like NAFTA negatively impacted coffee farmers and they continue to support policies that support people, for example the repeal of the anti-homosexuality act in Uganda.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Just Coffee is a worker owned cooperative.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Just Coffee posts profit and loss statements as well as farmer contracts.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Just Coffee participates in Fair Trade Proof to make coffee transactions publicly available and participates in On the Ground to partner on projects in coffee producing communities.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Just Us! has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade and engaging in social change.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model, part of an organization that reviews practices, uses third-party auditing to back up claims, and engages in policy transformation advocacy

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

100% of Just Us! coffees are certified. They work with both Fairtrade Canada and the Small Producer Symbol.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Just Us! is a worker owned co-op that started with a mission to partner with small-scale farmer co-ops and become the first fair trade coffee roaster in Canada.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Just Us! is dedicated to building relationships with small-scale farmer co-ops.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Just Us! has its practices verified by SPP. They have created a free fair trade educational museum, a community garden with research and action programs, and post community alerts encouraging community members to take political action on issues key to sustainable farming.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Just US! is a worker-owned co-op.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Just Us! posts some financial information including information on how much money goes to coffee co-ops, but does not post full financial information or farmer contracts.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Just Us! has created the Centre for Small farms as a space to provide education and advocacy on sustainable agriculture and small-scale farmers. Just Us! was also one of the first coffee roasters to work with the Small Producer Symbol.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Peace Coffee has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade and engaging in social change.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model, part of an organization that reviews practices, uses third-party auditing to back up claims, and engages in policy transformation advocacy  

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Claim to offer fair trade and organic coffee. They do not use a certification seal, but through Co-op Coffees, they do purchase organic coffee from the fair trade registry.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Peace Coffee was founded by and is owned by the non-profit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) as a practical expression of the type of trade IATP advocates for. The mission of Peace includes concepts of fair trade, sustainability, and good taste.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Peace is dedicated to working exclusively with small-scale coffee roasters.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Peace Coffee is a member of Co-op Coffees, a cooperative fair trade importer, and Fair Trade Federation. The parent organization of Peace, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, is heavily involved in advocating for and educating about both domestic and international agriculture and trade policies that will be more fair for farmers, workers, and consumers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Peace has an employee profit-sharing program and a commitment to fair trade in the work place, but is not democratically organized.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Basic financial information about the roaster is available through parent organization IATP and Peace publishes farmer contracts that include price paid as well.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Peace supports initiatives in coffee growing communities, such as addressing the devastating effect of leaf rust, and supports local causes; Peace delivers coffee locally by bicycle and engages in other initiatives to become environmentally sustainable; Peace also participates in Fair Trade Proof to make coffee transactions publicly available.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Dean’s Beans has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model; part of an organization that reviews practices and/or uses third-party auditing to back up claims; has shown significant commitment to principles of fair trade in one or more way

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Dean’s Beans has developed a fair trade audit system and works with QAI to undergo an independent audit to verify 100% fair trade practices and the legitimacy of their claim to be 100% fair trade. Their coffee is also certified organic. They also offer one coffee carrying the Small Producer Symbol.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Deans Beans is a private company that started with fair trade as part of its mission.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Dean’s is committed to working only with democratically organized farmer co-operatives of small-scale growers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Dean’s Beans is a Fair Trade Federation member. Also publicly supports causes such as raising the minimum wage and labeling GMOs.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

No, but they have signed the UN Global Compact committing to uphold rights such as freedom of association.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Dean’s is somewhat transparent about prices paid for coffee through their fair trade audit, though the most recent report available online is several years outdated.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Dean’s supports projects in coffee communities through their People-Centered Development program in which they only fund projects that communities they work with request to ensure it meets a real need. Dean’s has also developed their own fair trade audit program in which they invite a third party to review their financial and transaction records and report on whether they are meeting their fair trade claims.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Higher Ground has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model; part of an organization that reviews practices and/or uses third-party auditing to back up claims; has shown significant commitment to principles of fair trade in one or more way

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Higher Grounds claims to go beyond minimum fair trade principles to pay farmers more and be fully transparent. They do not use a certification seal, but through Co-op Coffees, they do purchase organic coffee from the fair trade registry.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Higher Grounds is a private company that started to sell coffee for small-scale Mexican farmers and has long-term relationships with farmers at the heart of its mission and explicit language indicating making a profit is not their primary goal.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Higher Grounds is dedicated to working exclusively with small-scale farmers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Higher Ground is a member of Co-op Coffees, a cooperative fair trade importer, and Fair Trade Federation.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Higher Grounds does not have a democratically organized workplace though they do have a stated commitment to upholding the principles of fair trade at all levels of the supply chain.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Higher Ground participates in Fair Trade Proof making available farmer contracts including prices but does not post other financial information.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Higher Ground participates with Fair Trade Proof to make coffee transactions publicly available and has started On the Ground to partner with fair trade communities on projects.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Larry’s Beans has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model; part of an organization that reviews practices and/or uses third-party auditing to back up claims; has shown significant commitment to principles of fair trade in one or more way

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Claim to offer 100% organic, fair trade, and shade grown coffee and to pay above minimum fair trade prices. They do not use a certification seal, but through Co-op Coffees, they do purchase organic coffee from the fair trade registry.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Larry’s is a private company that started buying fair trade as a way to find unique coffees and soon discovered it was a better business model for the people involved.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Larry’s is dedicated to working with small-scale farmers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Larry’s Beans is a member of Co-op Coffees, a cooperative fair trade importer, and Fair Trade Federation.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Larry’s does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Overall financial information is not public, but coffee contracts including prices paid are available through Fair Trade Proof.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Larry’s supports many organizations working to make a more just economy through trade policy transformation and other means, has several initiatives to reduce environmental impact of their business and participates in Fair Trade Proof to make coffee transactions publicly available.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Level Ground has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model; part of an organization that reviews practices and/or uses third-party auditing to back up claims; has shown significant commitment to principles of fair trade in one or more way

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Level Ground uses the term Fair Trade Direct to describe their relationship establishing direct, long-term relationships with farmers and fair trading terms, but there is no agreed upon definition for that phrase. Some but not all coffees are certified by Fairtrade International.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Level Ground Trading is a private company that started and continues to have small-scale farmers as their focus.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Level Ground is committed to working with small-scale farmers and is one of the few roasters that provides a definition for what that means.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Level Ground Trading is a Fair Trade Federation member.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Level Ground does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Level Ground does not post full financial information but posts a very clear chart with full information on prices paid for coffee.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Level Ground publishes a table of purchase histories including amount, price, market price at time of transaction for comparison, and percentage of price that goes to the farmer. They support community events, environmental initiatives including subsidizing employees who bike to work, and have invested in farming community projects such as scholarships for students in Colombia.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Santropol has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model; part of an organization that reviews practices and/or uses third-party auditing to back up claims; has shown significant commitment to principles of fair trade in one or more way

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Santropol claims 100% organic and fair trade coffee and back it up with certification, notably as the first roaster dedicated to offering only coffee certified by the Small Producer Symbol.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Santropol is a private company with a mission that includes the statement that social and economic justice and environmental stewardship are essential to global political and economic viability.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

No, Santropol works closely with the Small Producer Symbol to bring only SPP coffee to consumers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Santropol is a member of Co-op Coffees, a cooperative fair trade importer. Santropol is also a member of the Association Québecoise du Commerce Équitable, a fair trade advocacy association.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

The roaster is not democratically organized but by committing to the Small Producer Symbol they commit to a code of conduct for conducting all relationships based on fair trade principles.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Santropol does not post full financial information but does post farmer contracts including price through Fair Trade Proof.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Santropol is the first coffee roaster to offer only Small Producer Symbol coffee. They participate in Fair Trade Proof to make information on coffee transactions publicly available.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Thanksgiving Coffee has made a significant commitment to the principles of fair trade.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model; part of an organization that reviews practices and/or uses third-party auditing to back up claims; has shown significant commitment to principles of fair trade in one or more way

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Thanksgiving Coffee was one of the first roasters in the US to offer certified fair trade coffee. They currently offer coffee certified by Fairtrade America and most, but not all, of their coffee is certified fair trade or organic.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Thanksgiving started as a private, family-run company that has always been committed to small-scale farmers and fair trade and this is core to their mission. In recent years they have become a publicly traded company with 21% of shares owned by the public and 4% by employees.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

No, Thanksgiving Coffee does not buy from plantations and is committed to supporting small-scale farmers.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Thanksgiving does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Thanksgiving is not transparent about finances or coffee paid per pound.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Thanksgiving has partnered with organizations on initiatives like restoring biodiversity and planting shade trees on coffee farmers and facilitated farmer exchanges so that farmers from different countries can learn from each other. Other initiatives include recognizing unpaid work of women, working to save a farm devastated by La Roya, working with a co-op of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian coffee farmers in Uganda, and initiatives related to climate change.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Caribou offers only Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee. Though Rainforest Alliance standards are weaker than fair trade, they are the only major coffee chain to have a third-party audit for all coffee and offer no conventional coffee and in that way are better than many large coffee chains.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ Makes consistent claims that can be backed up in some way and has made some progress toward social and environmental sustainability, but there is room for improvement

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Claim to be the first major US coffeehouse to be 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified for all coffee and espresso. Though their consistency in offering all verified coffee should be applauded, Rainforest Alliance should not be confused with fair trade or exclusively small-scale coffee.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Caribou is privately held by a holding company and has no institutionalized commitment to fair trade principles.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Rainforest Alliance does not have a scale requirement and Caribou has not made an explicit commitment to support small-scale farmers.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Caribou does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Caribous is not financially transparent.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Caribou financial supports local and international organizations engaged in health and hunger reduction and disaster relief (including a fund to help employees facing disaster or illness). The details of this support as well as progress toward goals such as becoming zero waste and increasing food donations and employee volunteer hours are outlined in their Do Good Report.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Counter Culture coffee has made the most progress of all Direct Trade roasters to formalizing its definition of direct trade and undergoing an external audit of its own in-house program. Next steps would be to have additional stakeholder input of their program.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ ★ Makes consistent claims that can be backed up in some way and has made some progress toward social and environmental sustainability, but there is room for improvement

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Counter Culture has developed their own Direct Trade standard with four areas of compliance including personal and direct communication with farmers, fair and sustainable prices paid to farmers, exceptional quality, and supply chain transparency. They work with QCS to verify compliance with their own standards. However, not all of their coffees are Direct Trade Certified, nor have their in-house standards been vetted with a wider movement.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Counter Culture is a private company that has sustainability as part of its mission, though they aren’t tied into a larger multi-stakeholder movement that could help implement this vision or keep them accountable.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Likely. Counter Culture buys from a variety of cooperatives and single farms, some of which are large-scale.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Counter Culture is not a member of any fair trade organizations, though they do support sustainability campaigns and provide grants to projects in coffee farm communities.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Counter Culture does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Counter Culture has an annual direct trade report that lists prices paid for each coffee as well as how long they have been partnering with that farm or farm group.

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Counter Culture has a program called Seeds that funds specific projects of producers who apply for the fund, for example fuel efficient cook stoves, leaf rust prevention, or training in composting and organic agriculture. They also fund domestic sustainable agriculture and food security programs.

Counter Culture has been most innovative as the first self-identified Direct Trade Company to define and develop standards for what that means.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Allegro makes a commitment to environmental sustainability and attempts to support relevant causes. Some but not all coffee is third-party certified, though by labels with the weakest standards, including the use of a “fair trade” label on coffee from a large-scale plantation/estate. Though better than conventional in some ways, Allegro falls short of supporting small-scale farmers and fair trade principles.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ Better than conventional but makes questionable or misleading claims

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Allegro claims to offer environmentally conscious coffee and broad brand claims focus more on environmental than social responsibility. In 2011, Allegro reports that 55% of their coffee was organic, 25% Rainforest Alliance Certified, and 16% Fair Trade. Some coffees carry no certifications and no claims are made about those. However, Allegro has at least one coffee labeled as fair trade that is from a plantation which is unacceptable.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Allegro is owned by Whole Foods, a publicly traded company with core values that include commitments to health and global communities but ultimately accountable to shareholders.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

For the coffee that is fair trade certified (1/3 of product by variety, 16% by volume), Allegro uses Fair Trade USA. Fair Trade USA allows plantations and unorganized small-holder producers to be certified, a break from traditional fair trade certification which historically has been open only for organized small-holders. Allegro was the buyer of the first FTUSA certified “estate.” Therefore it is clear that they buy at least some of even its fair trade coffee from plantations. No other certification has any scale requirement and Allegro has not made an explicit commitment to small-scale coffee farmers.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Allegro is not a member of any fair trade organizations, though they do support several health and environmental causes.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Allegro does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Allegro is not very transparent, making available only limited information like total amount given to charitable causes, and does not list how much they pay for coffee.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Allegro is not very transparent, making available only limited information like total amount given to charitable causes, and does not list how much they pay for coffee.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Intelligentsia seems to have some genuine commitment to transparency and developing relationships with farmers, though no third-party audit or commitment to a greater movement.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ Better than conventional but makes questionable or misleading claims

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Claim to be a Direct Trade company with an emphasis on quality and committed to paying at least 25% above fair trade price to farmers committed to sustainability. Their company and supply chains are not externally audited and not all coffee is bought under their own Direct Trade criteria.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Intelligentsia is a private company that started with an emphasis on quality but also with a stated desire to help producers prosper though they aren’t tied into a larger multi-stakeholder movement that could help implement this vision or keep them accountable.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Likely. Intelligentsia buys from a variety of cooperatives and single farms, some of which are large-scale.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Intelligentsia does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Intelligentsia states that they guarantee a price at least 25% over the fair trade minimum price for coffee but does not get more specific than that or post other financial information.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Intelligentsia has developed criteria for what they mean by direct trade that outlines building long-term, transparent relationships with growers who commit to sustainable farming practices and paying at least 25% over fair trade prices, though no third party verifies whether they meet their own criteria and additional engagement beyond coffee transactions is lacking or unclear.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Peet’s has made some commitment to farmer communities and sustainability, though they are largely not backed up by third-party auditing or participation in the larger movement.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ Better than conventional but makes questionable or misleading claims

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Peet’s claims a focus on quality that requires in turn a focus on social and environmental sustainability and claim to always pay above fair trade prices. They offer both a fair trade and an organic blend, but most coffees are not audited by a third party.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Peet’s is privately held by a holding company and has no institutionalized commitment to fair trade, though they have participated in sustainability projects at several levels.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Likely. Peet’s buys from a variety of cooperatives and single farms, some of which are large-scale.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Peet’s does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Peet’s claims to pay above the fair trade minimum price for coffee but does not disclose specifics and does not post general financial information.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Peet’s provides technical assistance to farmers and supports organizations that work on the ground in coffee producing communities.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Stumptown seems to have some genuine commitment to transparency and developing relationships with farmers, though no third-party audit or commitment to a greater movement.

   FWP overall rating: ★ ★ Better than conventional but makes questionable or misleading claims

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Stumptown claims to be a Direct Trade company focused on quality and transparency. Stumptown and their supply chains are not externally audited.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Stumptown is a private company that started with an emphasis on quality but also with a stated desire build quality relationships with farmers though they aren’t tied into a larger multi-stakeholder movement that could help implement this vision or keep them accountable.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Likely. Stumptown buys from a variety of cooperatives and single farms, some of which are large-scale.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Stumptown does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Stumptown is not transparent about finances or prices paid for coffee.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Stumptown has a philosophy of developing transparent and “quality” relationships along the supply chain with producers, employees, and even customers. This includes training and education and allowing producers to participate in price negations to ensure farmers receive the price they need. Though their philosophy of a different way of business is consistent with others striving for a more just economy, none of their claims are verified and the financial investment in these initiatives is not clear nor is it clear whether the philosophy extends beyond immediate economic relationships to other advocacy actions.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters/Keurig Green Mountain has made a commitment to principles of fair trade, though still has much room for improvement in coffee sourcing and overall commitment to social and environmental sustainability. In terms of company practices, until they can take a stand in favor of fair trading policies rather than unfair “free trade,” they should be avoided.

    FWP overall rating: logo Avoid if possible, brand does not advance fair trade principles or does more harm than good

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Green Mountain was identified as the largest purchaser of fair trade coffee for the three years from 2010-2012 by Fair Trade USA. However, only 31% of their coffee is certified by a combination of Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade USA, and organic. They have, however, committed to not labeling plantation coffee as fair trade. They’ve made a goal of buying only “farmer identified” coffee which they define as knowing who grew their coffee, which they believe leads to the “potential” for developing long-term relationships with growers. There is significant room for improvement, but they are fairly transparent about what they are and are not achieving.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Green Mountain is publicly traded and announced earlier this year a partnership in which Coca-Cola bought 10% of the company

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Yes, though they are currently not labeling coffee from estates as fair trade even if it is certified as such by Fair Trade USA.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area

Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Yes. Grocery Manufacturers Association (has lobbied for free trade agreements and spent millions to fight against GMO labeling)

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Green Mountain does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Green Mountain posts its annual report and finances and discloses an average price per pound paid, but not prices for individual coffees; since not all coffee is fair trade the average price could reflect a large variation in prices with some falling well below the fair trade minimum price.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Green Mountain supports farming communities through a grant program, periodically meets with supplies to facilitate relationships and transparency, and has employee-based programs to offer grants locally in employees’ communities as well as a volunteer program.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Millstone has demonstrated no real commitment to sustainability or the principles of fair trade.

    FWP overall rating: logo Avoid if possible, brand does not advance fair trade principles or does more harm than good

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Millstone does not make any broad claims, though their breakfast blend, sold in stores such as Wal-Mart, is certified fair trade by Fair Trade USA. Though they are in no way making a commitment to fair trade principles, they are also not making any false or misleading claims.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Millstone is owned by JM Smucker, a publicly traded company, and neither Millstone nor parent company have a commitment to fair trade.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Likely. Most of Millstone’s coffee is bought under conventional terms. Their fair trade breakfast blend is certified by Fair Trade USA which allows plantations to be certified as fair trade, though it is unclear whether plantation coffee is in Millstone’s certified blend.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Yes. Grocery Manufacturers Association (has lobbied for free trade agreements and spent millions to fight against GMO labeling)

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Millstone does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Overall financials for parent company, JM Smucker are publicly available but Millstone does not post financial information or information about prices paid for coffee.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

None.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

logoFWP overall analysis of the brand and claims they are making.

Starbucks makes claims of sustainability and ethics that are primarily backed up by their own inadequate CAFÉ Practices. In addition, they have been implicated in lobbying against farmers when advocating for free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    FWP overall rating: logo Avoid if possible, brand does not advance fair trade principles or does more harm than good

Q: What claims does this roaster make about their coffee? Are they backed up by a third-party audit/certification? What percentage of their product meets a verified claim? <top>

Starbucks has a goal of 100% “ethically sourced” coffee by 2015 and claims to be at 95% already including coffee sourced under their in-house program CAFÉ (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices. In 2013 8% of coffee was certified fair trade by Fair Trade USA. CAFÉ Practices include indicators for environmental and social sustainability that are perhaps better than conventional production, but not include, for example, zero tolerance for violating workers rights to freedom of association, and do not require Starbucks to offer fair trading terms to small-scale producers, but rather focus on the producer obligations on farms. Their own standards fall far should of fair trade principles, but are an improvement over buying on conventional terms.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What does their mission, organizational structure, and history say about their commitment to fair trade principles? <top>

Starbucks is a publicly traded that does seem to take corporate responsibility seriously in some ways setting goals and reporting on progress, though falls short of being a fair company in both supply chains and overall practices.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: Does any coffee under this brand come from plantations? To what extent does this roaster focus on small-scale farmers? <top>

Yes. Starbucks buys from a variety of cooperatives and single farms, some of which are large-scale. Its Café Practices allows for purchases large-scale farms without distinguishing that coffee from coffee produced by small-scale growers and further does not provide adequate protection for workers despite claims of social sustainability.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organizations that support or verify fair trade or just economy principles? Does roaster publicly support additional causes in line with fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

No

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is roaster member of any organization that supports policies and practices that go against fair trade or just economy principles? Has the roaster publicly supported causes that go against fair trade or just economy principles? <top>

Yes. Grocery Manufacturers Association (has lobbied for free trade agreements)

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: Is this roaster a democratically organized workplace? <top>

Starbucks does not have a democratically organized workplace and no clear commitment to protecting workers rights to organize.

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area
Q: To what extent is the roaster financially transparent about what they pay for coffee and other business finances? <top>

Financial statements are publicly available and Starbucks discloses the average price per pound, but not prices for individual coffees.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area
Q: What innovative strategies does this roaster engage in to bring about a more just economy? (Note: for this question the top rating is reserved for those who are innovating to change structures; roasters with a neutral face are doing a good or adequate job creating change within existing structures.) <top>

Starbucks has developed their own standards (CAFE Practices) for coffee purchasing that are independently verified and publish a report on their practices. Although their standards are much weaker than fair trade, they are transparent about purchases and guiding values. Starbucks also invests money in coffee communities and local communities.

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

Why is this important?

Coffee is one of the most heavily traded products in the world. Small-scale coffee producers often lack access to these important markets, being forced at times to sell product for below what it cost to produce it. Environmentally, coffee can be grown sustainably or in a way that causes destruction to the environment. Many coffee roasters make claims of social and/or environmental sustainability

Fair World Project believes that:

  • Any market incentive for farmers such as a fair trade or eco-social labels should support small-scale producers; large-scale producers already have a market advantage.
  • Any claims of responsibility should be clear and not mislead consumers and should be verifiable through public transparency and third-party verification.
  • Practices and policies should be consistent, for example offering some amount of fair trade or other ethical coffee while at the same time supporting free trade agreements that will harm farmers is inconsistent and unacceptable.
  • Unless social responsibility policies are specifically put in place, publicly traded companies typically have the primary goal of earning money for shareholders so commitment to workers, farmers, and environment is limited, so it is important to look at ownership structure and institutionalized values when evaluating a company.

FWP assessed these roasters based on these beliefs and this evaluation supports those roasters who have fairness at the core of their business model including advocacy and policy work they engage in, support exclusively small-scale farmers, and make only supported claims.

Last updated July 25, 2014. (Please note this information is up to date based on our own research using publicly available information as well as direct correspondence with programs. Any corrections or questions can be directed to certifieranalysis@fairworldproject.org.)

Key to FWP Overall Analysis


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model, part of an organization that reviews practices, uses third-party auditing to back up claims, and engages in policy transformation advocacy

★ ★ ★ ★ Great overall business model, part of an organization that reviews practices, uses third-party auditing to back up claims

★ ★ ★ Makes consistent claims that can be backed up in some way and has made some progress toward social and environmental sustainability, but there is room for improvement

★ ★ Better than conventional but makes questionable or misleading claims

logo Avoid if possible, brand does not advance fair trade principles or does more harm than good

Key to Detailed Questions


logo Meets expectations of a fair brand in this area

logo Room for improvement, but no significant harm done in this area

logo Immediate improvement needed in this area