CRS Student Ambassador
Once November hit, Starbucks wasted no time switching out its white cups for festive red ones. It was out with the pumpkin and in with the peppermint. Students rejoiced and Instagram feeds were barraged with cheerful red cups and the appropriate emojis.
Assuming the drinks being ordered have any trace of coffee in them, where is the coffee coming from that fuels our holiday zeal? Unfortunately, the story of the coffee bean is much less cheerful than the jovial cup portrays.
Exploitation is the harsh reality lurking behind many cups of coffee. The beans are harvested by workers getting paid much less than what their labor is worth, and this destroys the economies and the environment. But not all coffee has to bear such a grim message.
Fair trade, the alternative to exploitation, delivers a steaming cup of hope to those it employs.
Fair trade is an ethical trade practice in which workers and farmers are justly compensated and educated to help those who suffer the costs of exploitation.
Examples of fair trade practices are sourcing from small farms, adherence to International Labor Organization policies —especially those concerned with child labor— and banning the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides. Fair trade benefits workers by providing safe workplaces, education for better practices and livable wages.
The consumer benefits might be less obvious. The price is higher, but the gain is invaluable.
By participating in fair trade practices, one takes a stand against the exploitation of workers and advocates for just practices. By buying with fair trade, one puts human rights at the center of consumption and becomes a conscious consumer.
Before you order your next cup of coffee, you should consider becoming a conscious consumer.
If you would like to learn more about fair trade and get some free samples of fair trade coffee and chocolate, come to the fair trade event at Collegiate Hall Monday at 8 p.m.
The program, sponsored by Residence Life, will have products from Equal Exchange, a fair trade organization that focuses on economically just and environmentally sound practices.
This event will be co-sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) student ambassadors as well. CRS will be providing information on ending exploitation and becoming conscious consumers on our college campus and in the world.
If interested in CRS, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org