Coffee May Cause Horrific Things

Where you buy coffee from may be contributing to slave labor and cycles of poverty.

It seems nearly impossible to really know what’s true about the estates you purchase coffee from. At least that’s the case here in India. That’s why you need to work with farmers that you can build a relationship with. As the years go on, you, as the purchasing customer will be able to get to know them more and more. Visiting the plantations, seeing the farmers is important. We all know though that how things might appear when your there may not be the case of the situation when your not there. Sadly, there’s too much to say about this topic! This little article is, what seems to be, an infinitesimal drop in the ocean of worker abuse. 

When purchasing raw coffee beans in an Indian context, it's crucial to take steps to ensure that you're not inadvertently supporting slave labor. Here are some guidelines to help you make ethical choices and avoid contributing to exploitative practices:

Some first practical steps for you as the buyer:

  • Fairtrade Certification: Look for coffee brands or suppliers that carry Fairtrade certification. Fairtrade ensures that farmers and workers are paid fair wages, work in safe conditions, and are protected against exploitation. By choosing Fairtrade-certified coffee, you can support ethical practices and contribute to improving the livelihoods of coffee growers.
  • Rainforest Alliance Certification: Consider coffee beans that bear the Rainforest Alliance certification. This certification emphasizes environmental sustainability and social responsibility, including fair treatment of workers. It ensures that the coffee you purchase is produced in a way that protects forests, wildlife, and communities.
  • Direct Trade Relationships: Support coffee brands that establish direct trade relationships with Indian coffee farmers. Direct trade enables a closer connection between the buyers and producers, ensuring fair compensation, better working conditions, and long-term sustainability for the farmers. Brands that prioritize direct trade often have transparency about their sourcing practices.
  • Ethical Supply Chain: Research the coffee brand's supply chain and sourcing practices. Look for companies that emphasize transparency and ethical sourcing from Indian coffee farms. Consider brands that provide information about the specific farms or cooperatives they work with and their commitment to fair labor practices.
  • Local and Sustainable Initiatives: Choose local Indian coffee roasters or small-scale producers who prioritize sustainability and ethical practices. These local businesses often have closer relationships with Indian coffee farmers, ensuring fair treatment and better livelihoods for them. Supporting local initiatives also contributes to the local economy and encourages sustainable farming practices.
  • Verify Certifications: Confirm the legitimacy of certifications displayed on coffee packaging. You can visit the websites of certifying organizations like Fairtrade India or Rainforest Alliance to ensure the brand's certification is valid and up to date.
  • Seek Community Initiatives: Look for coffee brands that support community initiatives or cooperatives in India. These initiatives often empower local farmers, ensure fair wages, and provide resources for sustainable farming practices. By supporting such brands, you can contribute to the upliftment of coffee-growing communities in India.
  • Engage with the Brand: Reach out to coffee brands or suppliers directly to inquire about their sourcing practices. Ask about their initiatives to combat slave labor, support farmers' welfare, and ensure fair treatment throughout the supply chain. Responsible brands will be transparent and happy to provide information to conscientious consumers.

By following these guidelines and choosing coffee brands that prioritize ethical sourcing, fair labor practices, and sustainability in an Indian context, you can make a positive impact and contribute to a more equitable coffee industry. Together, we can support the wellbeing of Indian coffee farmers and ensure that our coffee consumption does not contribute to slave labor.