FAIRTRADE: Small beans, massive impact.
Reading time: 4 min
Did you know that you are doing good with every cup of VIVA Cafe? After all, VIVA cafe bears the FAIRTRADE seal and is thereby synonymous with fair trade – supporting coffee growers in Nicaragua for example.
“When a coffee grower in Nicaragua hauls a sack of coffee onto his moped and drives for two hours over hill and dale to the next coffee trader, he will accept whatever price he can get there.” And that is very rarely a fair price. This is why the FAIRTRADE system is so crucial, explains Hartwig Kirner, Managing Director of FAIRTRADE Austria. It supports targeted families of small growers who join together in cooperatives to improve their position on the global market.
Every cup counts
FAIRTRADE not only stands for a minimum price of almost 3 US dollars for a kilo of coffee, but also for an additional FAIRTRADE premium of 0.4 US dollars per kilo of coffee – representing an add-on of 14 percent. This premium goes to the cooperative, which decides how it should be spent. A quarter of the premium is reserved for measures to improve quality and yield. This could involve, for example, an investment in a solar drying plant rather than drying the coffee on asphalt. “It’s always about achieving higher yields and better quality because then the growers will get more money in the long term”, explains Hartwig Kirner.
The rest of the premium is not reserved for a particular purpose. “For example, the money can be distributed to the growers; but it often brings in more when it is invested in a community project.” Coffee usually grows at high altitudes in challenging conditions. The villages are extremely isolated and there is a severe lack of infrastructure. That’s why in recent years FAIRTRADE funds have financed projects for water supply, building schools or providing loans to buy new coffee plants or equipment. “The group is organized as a cooperative—the majority decides. The people there are the ones who know best what’s right for them”, says Hartwig Kirner.
More than 180,000 tonnes of FAIRTRADE coffee were sold worldwide in 2015, that’s 18 percent more than the previous year. This is a huge success, made even more important by the fact that it has a direct impact on the lives and working conditions of more than 800,000 farmers and growers. Our vision to provide a secure a living wage and for this every cup counts.
Hartwig Kirner, Managing Director FAIRTRADE Austria
Does FAIRTRADE automatically mean organic?
Not automatically. But often. After all, more than a third of the FAIRTRADE coffee sold worldwide is now grown organically. As organic farming is significantly more labor-intensive, it receives an additional organic premium and is supported with special training measures. But the use of dangerous pesticides is also prohibited even with the conventional FAIRTRADE coffee. This is complemented by strict protections for workers and general guidelines for environmentally sound growing.
When it says VIVA coffee, it means FAIRTRADE
Starting as far back as 2006 OMV has been a partner to FAIRTRADE – whereby it was the first filling station operator in Austria to sign up. Since then customers have been able to buy a wide range of FAIRTRADE products at our filling stations. The FAIRTRADE seal has now been expanded to VIVA Cafe and all of our countries – this means that every cup of VIVA Cafe is made of 100 percent FAIRTRADE beans. And that’s not a minor thing, as more than one million customers visit us every day in almost 900 VIVA Shops in nine countries.
Small beans, massive impact
FAIRTRADE coffee comes from over 800,000 coffee growers in 30 different countries. The VIVA coffee comes from Brazil, India and Nicaragua. To produce good coffee you also need everything to be right with the producer. The FAIRTRADE coffee growers cherish and nurture their coffee plants. They harvest by hand and also take extreme care during the drying process. “It is important to raise awareness among consumers so that they know that this effort and work has an impact on the quality of the coffee and that this also has its price”, says Hartwig Kirner. Here the FAIRTRADE system has a direct impact. After all, in addition to the minimum price and the premiums, the coffee growers get advice and training, while knowledge transfer is also promoted within the cooperative. And that in turn can be recognized in the quality.
Double the taste experience!
Anyone who wants to savor their coffee To Go sustainably can now also do this – with the VIVA reusable cup. The porcelain cup with a VIVA design is available at our OMV filling stations in Germany. It is also coming to Austria from 1 October 2017. This not only helps the environment, but also saves you money: Every use means a 10 cent discount on the regular coffee price. All information at a glance: www.omv.at/fairtrade.
And our growers in Nicaragua? Their coffee is now taken to the traders by trucks owned by the cooperative, funded by the FAIRTRADE premium. These trucks now deliver the coffee beans collectively to the intermediary, ensuring a better price and saving valuable time.