Coffee farmers are among the world’s most mistreated farmers. Their jobs are low-wage and labor-intensive. The coffee plant is extremely susceptible to disease and pests. Fortunately, people’s ethical standards are higher when it comes to coffee consumption, as it is not viewed as food, but rather as a delectable happy luxury. As a result, consumers believe they have the right to be more selective about where and how their coffee is grown.
The Smithsonian Magazine outlines the characteristics of an ethical and sustainable coffee. While obtaining all of these is a bit complicated, checking as many as possible off before purchasing a bag of coffee is ideal!
Direct trade: Increases farmers’ share of profits.
Shade-grown crops: Allow farmers to grow their crops without jeopardising nearby biodiversity.
Organic: Assists in preventing excessive erosion (along with not using pesticides).
Along with receiving fair wages, they receive a premium to invest back into the community and avoid wage losses if the market price falls.
Certified by the Rainforest Alliance: Guards against child labour and certain ecological factors. Although, to be honest, it is not overly strict.
UTZ Certified: Preserves habitat, conserves water, avoids pesticide use, and prevents soil erosion.
Bird-Friendly Certified: Assures that organic and shade-grown coffee is grown on farms. This is a critical but uncommon certification.