Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Little Beef

Just wanted to set the record straight on something. There seems to be this idea that Starbucks is a fair trade coffee place. And for a long time I too thought this was the case. But in doing a little research I discovered a little fact that is worth noting. In 2004 less than one percent of the coffee sold at Starbucks was certified fair trade coffee. Now, in 2006, it is getting closer to the 2.2% mark. To me this still sounds like it is a long way from all their coffee being fair trade.

Now to be fair I need to put this in perspective with other coffee shops. Tim Hortons, and Second Cup (the other two giant coffee chains in Canada) are both WELL below 1% and aren't really making much of an effort to improve on that. While on the other hand Starbucks is always trying to improve, and currently sells 20% of all the fair trade Coffee in America. They also buy most of their coffee for double the normal selling rate.... however, it's not technically fair trade!

Does it really matter? Probably not. If you like coffee and you have a strong social conscience Starbucks is probably the best place to buy a cup of coffee (besides your local MCC). My beef is that Starbucks gives the impression that they are a fair trade company when they’re not… and I don’t like it when people pretend to be something their not.