The London-based International Coffee Organization (ICO) is leading a consumer-focused petition to support coffee farmers worldwide heading into the annual International Coffee Day on Oct. 1.
Like Earth Day (April 22), World Hepatitis Day (July 28), or World Talk Like a Pirate Day (Aug. 14), International Coffee Day falls on an arbitrary date for which a specific cause or issue is highlighted or promoted, often with the snowball-effective support of various government organizations, NGOs and private companies.
In coffee, the day tends to be used as a promotions vehicle, most often for coffee sales. As the primary intergovernmental organization supporting a sustainable coffee sector, the ICO is naturally focusing its International Coffee Day efforts on the economic support of coffee farmers. Over the past year and more, commodity coffee prices have been stagnating at historically low levels.
As the ICO’s International Coffee Day website states, “Coffee has never been more popular, with an estimated 3 billion cups consumed every day. In spite of growing demand, coffee faces a dramatic crisis, as the prices that producers receive today are more than 30% below the average of the last ten years, threatening the livelihood of coffee farmers and their families.”
Thus, the ICO is asking consumers to make the #coffeepledge — creating a petition through the Change.org — where they can signal their collective desire to build dignified conditions for the many millions of coffee farmers behind their daily cups.
“By signing this petition you’ll give consumers a voice and help us to influence those who can effect positive change for coffee farmers around the world: the international community, governments, development banks, the United Nations and the wider coffee industry,” the petition states. “With your assistance we can help coffee farmers receive the livelihood they need and deserve through a living income.”
As of this writing, the petition has received nearly 1,300 signatures, with a goal of 1 million.
It’s worth noting that, despite its dot org suffix, Change.org is a for-profit company that actively uses the the data submitted by petition signees. Every Change.org petition gives petition creators the required name, location and email data of each signee, while by default, the company also uses that information to target users for other campaigns and other marketing purposes. More on how Change.org uses data can be found here.
For consumers who may be wary of using the platform, there’s always the old-fashioned way: talk to whomever you’re buying coffee from.
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.
Change dot org are a for profit private entity. Look at some of the other “issues” they have taken up. Note well,, they are after the names and contact info form everyone who signs their “petition’ SOunds like a money grabbing scheme to me.
creating a petition through the Change.org — where they can signal their collective desire to to build dignified conditions for the many millions of coffee farmers who are behind their daily cups. end quote
collective desire is one thing, apractical boots on the ground plan is quite another. Anyone who has studied business, markets, economy, price, and all the dynamics involved along the entire value chain from dirt to the filled cup across the counter, will realise there IS no “universal fix”, no “magic bullet’ that will “cure” theproblem. WE are involved in the “specialty” sector of the far larger coffee undustry. What we grow, produce, transport, buy, roast, brew, serve, is OTHER than the mass commodity grade coffees with which the internaitonal commodities exchange are concerned. WHY do we persist in keeping OUR product mixed in with THAT product? Until we break away from that structure the producers of the specialty grade product WE want will struggle to get enough to warrant the extra care needed to produce OUR product.
I’ll wager very few reading this article can provide a valid definition for the term “price”, let alone describe how that practically finctions in a given market like ours.
Any approach that relies upon the “collective” model, where some central organism (whether a private, government, market, operator) attempts to invent and impose some “changes” upon the entire system WILL fail.
Remember back when Fair Trade first came along? Thier song was wonderful.. every farmer getting what they need to make a decent living. Somewhere along the way reality missed the theory. Two huge problems with the Fair Trade model are, 1) a simple premium added to the current C Market price. 2) would not include ANY private or family farms, only cooperatives 3) ZERO incentive to expend extra time, effort, capital in raising the quality of the coffee produced.. because the price would not reflect this higher quality BECAUSE it is a simple premium over C Market commodity grade bulk coffee.
I am convinced that this model is a large part of how we got here today. By NOT rewarding producers for the additional value added to produce top quality lots, those that invested in higher quality suffered for the lack of comensation for their efforts…. and the wholesale buyers (roasters/shops) who bought got the premium in quality without paying the premium in price.
There are a number of importers which have bypassed both the commodity market pricing structure AND the “fair trade” system. They bring into the US millions of bags of top quality specialt grade coffees which command premium prices, which the users gladly pay BECAUSE of the outstanding quality of the product (I am drinking one such right now, had to decide between three such options sitting in my kitchen right now… price I paid for each of these three amazing coffees ranged between 4 and 5 dollars the pound. And I KNOW the producers were richly rewarded with a signficant portion of what I paid… one of the producers I know personally and know their operation).
I won’t name the main ones I deal with because I KNOW they are not the only ones doing this… they are the ones I have selected based on many factors… the chief being quality in the cup. Strong second being they take care of the people who grow for them. They are committed to maintaining the entire value chain dirt to cup. And do it. These are all independent operators, conducting their own oparations based on strong principles, and commitment to each link in the entire value chain. No collectivist “solution” was needed, or wanted, to propel them along the paths they have chosen.
A free market is where billions of individual buy/sell decisions are made where each such decision is based on mutual benefit to those two operators, and nothing else. I paid five bucks the pound for that coffee because I ALONE felt that, based on the quality I found in the cop, I could pay that amount, and THEY ALONE felt that they were fairly compensated for their investment, all in, at that same price. I’ve another coffee I paid a buck and a half a pound, for a whole pallet. It was a “problem coffee” for the producer. Arrival samples were NOWHERE near to what he had received as origin samples. The coffee was wretched, and being bounced back to him. I got some, played with it, figured out a radical departure from a “standard” roast profile, and learned what THAT coffee wants in the drum. It is wonderful…. producer took a buck a pound loss, but that was cheaper than paying shipping to return it to origin. It cleared it out of HIS facility and quickly monetised a problem for him. He moved on, I have a great coffee… again, the price pleased both of us.
This pattern, over millions of exchanges, is what DOES drive the market. Some collectivist “solution” to globally “fix” the “problem” largely created by prvious collectivist solutions will work no better this time round on the merry go round than it did the last time. But these days, it seems the collectivist “solution” is the acceptible one.
Hmm yes, and Roast Magazine is on Facebook. That’s okay I suppose…
And profit’s a dirty word now in the US?
Way to go Tionico,
In growing up in West Texas, with “growing up” being false as I never did, I watched farmers lose cotton subsidies invented by politicians and paying farmers to grow and not grow; in watching sheep subsidies doing somewhat the same; for countless years seeing farmers paid to leave land vacant of crops; in watching Obama “go green” efforts as a total economic farce, I’m sick of people, groups and governments trying to influence profitability. ” Can we talk” (Joan Rivers) ?
Have any of you pitched in dollars to save some of the oil industry that lost their butts due in part to gov’t interference? No, you’ve listened to gov’t, since Jimmy Carter push to vilify anyone who doesn’t limit profitability of large companies who averaged about 4% profit, cause the profits were in the billions. They should be, as these companies are full of people, stockholders, market players, and users who depend upon gasoline and diesel, and lubricants, and plasticized products, road tar, roofing materials – endless. The taxes that jerk President helped implement are paid by you and I, but the “bad guy” image was projected on the industry. It was and is all geared to getting votes and increasing tax revenue. So, who’s the bad guy?
Its really quite simple, without me having to continue this rant, if farmers, shippers, roasters, sellers, etc. cannot profit from what they pursue then do something else. That’s how free market works. It never works properly with outside interference,
A free market sets it values, without interference from those not involved, and should never include outsider do-gooders thoughts or interference, especially any form of government which is what such groups almost always finally result in. This group with the non-profit semblance for appeal is in it for their profit. Non-profit for profit. Doesn’t that have a great ring to it?
This is the worst form of tree hugging I’ve ever seen. Oh, wait. Is Al Gore a part of it? That would make it all celebritory, right?
Dailycoffeenews, please tread softly here. I am not a fan of any sort of socialism and will combat you if any more support is attempted on this affair. Your publicity for such efforts is support after a length of time. You lend credibility that is not deserved.