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FAIRTRADE HAILS PERCOL’S NEW COFFEE IN PLASTIC-FREE PACKAGING

Percol

The Fairtrade Foundation has welcomed Percol’s ‘Coffee on a Mission’ rebrand and hails its efforts to lead the industry in becoming more sustainable following renewed commitment to Fairtrade and a pioneering investment in plastic-free packaging.

In an interview with London Live on 26 November 2018, Anna Pierides – Fairtrade Foundation’s Coffee Supply Chain manager says: “Percol – one of the earliest Fairtrade champions – is committed to helping bring security to farmers and workers who have seen the global coffee price crash to unsustainable levels.

“Coffee farmers are the most vulnerable to poverty because when market prices crash their crops are worth so little they can barely survive – that’s why it is so important to choose Fairtrade and we’re delighted Percol has now increased its range of coffees that look after people and planet from the inside out.”

Fairtrade protects farmers from market crashes, by assuring a minimum price for their coffee, which is a guaranteed ‘safety net’ price to cover costs of sustainable production.  On top of this, they receive an additional sum, the Fairtrade Premium to invest in whatever they need most such as schools, healthcare or protecting their farms against damage caused by climate change and plant disease.

Pierides’ London Live interview follows on from the recent news that Percol’s new range of Fairtrade and organic coffees are now packaged in plastic-free, home-compostable packaging, made from renewable resources such as plant fibres and eucalyptus wood pulp. This world first is Percol’s response to the 100 million non-recyclable coffee packs produced and used in the UK each year. The six new flavours of Fairtrade ground coffees and beans were launched exclusively in Waitrose this November.

David Brooks, Managing Director, Percol, says: “For most of us, a decent cup of coffee is a daily must. And while the modern consumer is always looking for great taste, they’re also caring more and more about the sustainability of each cup.”

According to Percol, an added benefit is that consumers can throw the packaging away with their food scraps, and – once broken down – use it as a soil improver. When put in local council food waste bins, the certified home-compostable packs break down within 12 weeks through industrial composting, or within 26 weeks when home composted.

David Brooks adds: ‘Coffee on a Mission is the biggest rebrand in our 30 year history, returning to our pioneering roots to lead the sustainable coffee conversation once again. We want to drive the business forward, and to do that we had to re-establish our core values and bring them to life in a way consumers would engage with.”

Anna Pierides added: “We should all be able to enjoy a nice cup of coffee without feeling bad, but coffee has a dark side; exploitation is rife meaning that farmers still live in poverty, unable to make ends meet and coffee production and consumption has taken  a terrible toll on the environment. When we choose Fairtrade, farmers do their bit, by investing back into the land, into sustainable farming, but it is time companies stepped up their responsibilities and we congratulate Percol for driving up standards on sustainability.”

On the ground, farmers in Fairtrade communities are working hard to improve the quality of their coffee, with so many opting for organic farming (Fairtrade International’s latest annual report shows 57% of Fairtrade coffee is organic). By means of greater investment from the Fairtrade Premium – which they receive on top of sales -and relationships with more businesses, they can go further still.

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Fairtrade Organic September

Did you know that over 50% of Fairtrade farmers choose to grow their produce organically? By working with nature they protect the environment and themselves from harmful chemicals, and they can improve their livelihoods, as they often get a better price too.

We’re celebrating Organic September with our friends over at the Soil Association by sharing ten of our favourite Fairtrade and organic products over on our blog. With over 1000 available it was really hard to choose!

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Easyjet now offering Clipper Fairtrade Teas

  Six organic and Fairtrade teas from Clipper’s portfolio is now available to over 90 million passengers annually. Not only is the tea organic it will also be served in cups made from plants not plastic. The plastic-free cups are fully compostable, made from sustainably-sourced card and lined with plant-based PLA. Clipper never uses bleach to whiten the bag and is working to develop a fully-biodegradable, GM-free tea bag from solely plant-based materials.

Founded in Dorset in 1984 and now the world’s largest Fairtrade tea brand, Clipper is thrilled to be supplying easyJet and looking forward to seeing Clipper’s Fairtrade tea served in the skies for the first time.”

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Is the Coffee Industry Guilty of Exploitation?

Is the Coffee Industry Guilty of Exploitation?

by Peter d’Angremond of Max Havelaar Foundation

The price for Arabica coffee beans has plummeted in recent weeks to below production costs, jeopardising the livelihoods of 25 million coffee farming families worldwide. Peter d’Angremond of Max Havelaar Foundation discusses the impact of the price crash and what we must do now to protect coffee farmers.

Coffee farmers rang the alarm bell this week due to the price of coffee beans dropping to a dramatic low. This threatens the already fragile existence of 25 million farming families worldwide. We can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening.

This week, Brazil and Colombia, who together produce half of the world’s coffee, published a affirming the fact that farmers are forced to sell their coffee far below cost price.

The disastrous situation in the coffee sector is confirmed by recent figures. At the end of 2016, the price of Arabica coffee on the New York Stock Exchange was $1.55 per pound (454 grams). Since then the price has dropped further to a dramatic low point this week of less than one dollar per pound. Due to the extreme decline of 30% in price, farmers could be facing an annual loss of more than 11 billion dollars of income. No development programme can bridge this gap.

Sustainability is on everyone’s lips these days and often we think we are doing a good job. The coffee-producing countries state that while many large multinational companies do promote and act on sustainability, these activities are completely negated by their commercial practices. The recently released report ‘Coffee Barometer‘ comes to the same conclusion. Of the total value of coffee (around 200 billion dollars in 2015), only 10% stays in the countries of origin. In total, large companies spend approximately 350 million dollars a year on sustainability. Set against the income loss of 11 billion dollars, this is a drop in the ocean.

FOR 3 QUARTERS OF ALL PACKS OF COFFEE IN THE UK SUPERMARKET, NO PRICE SECURITY IS OFFERED FOR COFFEE FARMERS.

By paying prices that are too low, the coffee industry is at least partly responsible for human rights issues such as poverty, child labour, poor working conditions as well as environmental damage. In sustainability discussions, talking about a ‘decent price’ is taboo. Industry largely refuses to commit to decent prices for farmers.

In the UK, Fairtrade, which is the only certification mark that requires a minimum price of coffee buyers ($1.40 per pound), has a market share of around 25%. This means that for 3 quarters of all packs of coffee in the UK supermarket, no price security is offered for coffee farmers. They are then dependent on the vagaries of the market.

It is time that coffee brands, supermarkets and the industry take structural responsibility by adjusting their purchasing policy.

And do we, as consumers, want to be involved in the exploitation of coffee farmers by buying their products?