Just Us! has been a leader in keeping true to the original concepts of fair trade with its transition to the Small Producers Symbol (SPP in Spanish) nearly 2 years ago. Another pioneer in the fair trade movement, Equal Exchange, is doing the same. Check out this recent blog post by Equal Exchange Producer Relations Coordinator Phyllis Robinson for the scoop on REAL Fair Trade: link
Fair Trade Certification
Back in 1997, Just Us! became the first certified Fair Trade licensed coffee roaster in North America. There are now over 250 licensed Fair Trade companies just in Canada. There are also many companies now claiming to have products that are fair trade, or fairly traded, but are not certified. Others buy only a small portion of FT products to improve their image or cater to niche markets, while purchasing the rest of their products outside of the certified system. Without certification, there is no auditing of trade practices, farming or processing facilities, so the consumer can never really know the ethics behind un-certified products.
The principles of the global Fair Trade system represent more than just Corporate Social Responsibility.
We don’t think that Fair Trade pretends that it can eliminate global poverty, but it does eliminate some of the risk for small-scale farmers that know that they can count on at least a certain minimum income from their harvest, which can really mean an assurance to meet some of the basics for their families. With the minimum pricing structure and fixed premiums, Fair Trade and organic certification reduces coffee pricing volatility and helps avoid desperate circumstances for thousands of families of small-holder farmers that often only own and harvest only a few hectares of land. Just Us! pays well above the FT coffee minimum, even when commodity markets are low, to remunerate farmers for high quality, organically grown product.
In our view, poverty should not just be measured in terms of economics. Some of the happiest people we have ever met live in healthy indigenous communities that would be considered impoverished by narrow economic measures. Fair Trade premiums are invested into rural community infrastructure and services based on the priorities of the farmers that are members of a co-operative. Although we don’t feel that organic premiums paid to producers have yet reached a point where the true market and global value of sustainable agriculture is reflected, we do think that it is an important approach for healthy communities in commodity producing regions. For coffee producers, Fair Trade and organic certification is about creating an improved quality of life and not just an improved standard of living through farming. They wouldn’t participate in the system if they didn’t see this value in it. Neither would Just Us! and neither would our customers.
Most importantly as small-producers organize, they gain collective power and a collective voice. In many areas they have traditionally been exploited by colonialism, oppressive regimes and large corporate commodity traders. Cooperative organization increasingly allows farmers to control their economic and social activities and to make the decisions and investments that impact their own communities. We see their choice to farm organically in the Fair Trade market, as a statement to work towards a healthier existence, but not the ultimate solution to development in rural communities.
Just Us! core products are 100% Fair Trade certified by Fair Trade Canada
Just Us! has been a leader in keeping true to the original concepts of fair trade with its transition to the Small Producers Symbol (SPP in Spanish) nearly 2 years ago. Another pioneer in the fair trade movement, Equal Exchange, is doing the same. Check out this recent blog post by Equal Exchange Producer Relations Coordinator Phyllis Robinson for the scoop on REAL Fair Trade
Principles of authentic fair trade
- Direct Trade with producer co-ops
- Fair Price to cover production costs and meet basic family needs
- Long Term Agreements to allow better planning
- Credit or advance payment to help producers
- Democratic Management ensuring all producers have an equal voice
- Public information on fair trade and independent audits
- Environmental Conservation through sustainable agriculture
JUST US! STANDS FOR
- small farmer co-operatives
- direct partnerships
- social justice
- organic agriculture
- indigenous rights
People and the planet before profits ®
We believe that business is a vehicle for change, people and our planet need not be exploited to make a profit.