Guelph’s Fairtrade Coffee Company
One hundred percent Fairtrade Certified
Planet Bean coffee joined Fairtrade Canada in 1998 making it one of the first Certified Fairtrade coffee companies in Canada. Since that time we have been committed to only roasting and selling Certified Fairtrade coffee.
Fairtrade is an independent, third party certification system for goods that are produced in the Global South. Its mission is to ensure better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade and to support local sustainability for farmers and workers in the Global South.
(Link to Fairtrade International websites)
At Planet Bean we add a few elements. We believe that Fairtrade should be focused on small producers, small farm families that have access to land. We also believe that fairtrade should link producers and consumers in a meaningful way. We also believe that the ideas promoted by Fairtrade should not just be a condition for people to participate from the Global South, but should also be applied to organizations in the north. This is why Planet Bean is owned and operated by the Sumac Community Worker Co-operative.
For us, Fairtrade does not just mean a better price. A better price certainly improves the home economy of the farmer families we work with, but the power of Fairtrade lies in its ability to create social infrastructure and community initiatives. Producer groups, usually organized as co-operatives, are making huge changes to their communities. Many co-ops have developed clean water programs, health centres, schools, roads, credit unions, even new enterprises. These are the result of people getting together to build a better community and a better world. The power of co-operation is reflected in the remarkable stories of Cafe Femenino and the Oromia Coffee Farmers Union, two of Planet Bean’s coffee suppliers.
Planet Bean is also committed to the certification work of Fairtrade Canada and the Fairtrade International (FI).
To make sure the Fairtrade Standards are followed and producers are receiving the benefits, an independent system exists to monitor and certify each step in the production chain. FI is the international umbrella organization that oversees the Fairtrade Certification system. FI’s membership includes more than 20 National Fairtrade Organizations (NFO) from countries where Fairtrade Certified products are sold, and three Producer Networks (PN). FLO-CERT, the independent certification body owned by FI, certifies the earlier stages in the production chain, and Fairtrade Canada monitors and certifies the product once it reaches Canada.
Fairtrade Canada is the only organization in Canada responsible for certifying Fairtrade Certified products, and the only Canadian member of FI. Companies that want to sell Fairtrade Certified products become licensed by Fairtrade Canada and must do financial reporting and receive audits to make sure all products being sold as Fairtrade Certified have indeed met the Standards. Fairtrade Canada also works with partner organizations (including NGOs, licensee companies, and community groups) to build the market for Fairtrade Certified products and raise awareness about Fairtrade Certified and Fairtrade issues.
The Fairtrade Certified system offers many benefits to producers, including:
- Creating sustainable livelihoods for rural families by offering higher and more stable revenue. This limits the rural exodus of farmers moving to often overcrowded cities, and allows rural farmers, including many Indigenous groups, to preserve their culture and agricultural practices.
- Increasing access to education and health services. More children are able to attend school full-time, and many producers are able to pursue university studies
- Community projects & infrastructure, including micro-credit programs, better factories and technology, etc.
- Greater environmental sustainability, including less chemicals put into the environment, more organic certification, and the protection of biodiversity, all of which contributes towards better health for farmers and workers
- Empowerment of producers and workers through the development of strong local organizations. Joined together in a cooperative or workers organization, producers can gain better knowledge of the market, increased bargaining power, access to training and technical support, a stronger ability to plan for the future and becoming actors in their own development.
Planet Bean is committed to working with our producers, our workers, our customers and our community to bring fairness into economic relationships everywhere.