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Ethical Coffee

Coffee is one of the biggest export/import commodities in the world and behind petroleum, coffee is the second most traded product in the world.

Despite its popularity, coffee is not free of problems. There are ethical problems, as well as environmental and social issues at play.

The most common strands of coffee in the world are Arabica and Robusta. Most of the ethical problems in today’s coffee industry occur with this poor quality coffee, which end up in the instant coffee jar.

Instant coffee is a big business that allow the companies that produce it to purchase massive quantities which in turn, leads to unethical practises.

When the focus is on low costs and not quality, it forces cheap labour, sometimes even child labour and poor working conditions.

The traditional method of growing coffee plants was predominantly in the shade. It is a slow process as the berries ripen at differing stages and need to be hand picked.

In the 1970s, many farmers began growing the plants in full sun. They used fertilizers and pesticides which are damaging to the environment and our health, but respond better to full sun producing larger crops of coffee berries.

Native trees were cleared to maximise the growth of the plants. This is of huge environmental concern.

When coffee is shade-grown, it is said to be of higher quality and we now see a lot of farmers returning to this traditional method.

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