Guest Author - Gayle E. Santana
As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, we already know that the best way to give thanks is to give back. We spend millions of dollars daily on coffee. Is our coffee company giving back on a local or global level? Are they making an effort to make this world a better place?
Let’s look at a few companies to see.
STARBUCKS CALVERT FOUNDATION
Starbucks is. Starbucks has created the Calvert Foundation. According to their website, Starbucks has invested over one million dollars into community investment notes to support Latin American coffee farmers. The funds, matched by another one million from investors have been loaned in a revolving fashion to coffee growers in Nicaragua, Mexico and Peru as well as a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization called Root Capital.
They also encourage and assist you to donate and invest as well.
SHADE GROWN COFFEE
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is growing shade-grown coffee. Shade-grown coffee, according to an article online at the Heifer International website, is “coffee grown under a canopy of diverse species of shade trees, often on small farms using traditional technique.”
They continue on to say that shade-grown coffee provides food and shelter for songbirds as well as other animals and plants. The trees protect the coffee plants from rain and sun and help to maintain the soil quality, reduce the need for weeding and pest control and the organic matter from the shade reduces erosion, contributes nutrients and prevents metal toxicities.
There are a number of other shade grown coffee companies such as Audubon Premium Organic Coffee Company, Birds and Beans Inc., and Café Campesino (see link to list below).
FAIR TRADE COFFEES
While various definitions abound, PBS.org defines Fair Trade as a term used to describe a social-responsibility movement demanding that farmers receive fair prices for their products and also describes products that are produced by these farmers.
This movement ensures the farmers a decent living wage. After all, if we are paying $4 a cup for our coffee, a healthy portion should be going to the farmers who did the most difficult and arguably the most important part of the work.
Fair trade certified coffees are already sold by many of the establishments you know such as Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Seattle’s Best Coffee and a host of others. A link is provided below.
So the next time before you grab a cup of coffee, ask not what that cup is doing for you, but what is that company doing to make the world a better place.
The Calvert Foundation-Starbucks
Sources of Shade Grown Coffee
Green Mountain Coffee
Fair Trade Certified Products