A place to accumulate a few notes about fairness, sustainability and the knowledge that these things are happening.


The Fair Trade certification and other fairness labels are, to put it mildly, often a form of advertising and not actually meaningful. Other certifications are quite possibly better. Feral Trade is, as I understand it, a way around this by avoiding labels and using relationships to really know what is going on.

Other documentation systems exist. Some are listed below. Some services try to work out ways of mixing all these factors together to work out what you might want to choose. Some other services seem to be a bit odd, like the Rankabrand system that seems to put Nescafe up high, or the Australian Shop Ethical site that uses Rankabrand and otherwise seems a bit simplistic.

Rainforest Alliance

No fee for the purchaser, but the farmers still need to get certified.

Apparently RA emerged first as a wood and thus forest protection group. So there may be more interest in landscape protection, but they claim also to have strong social actions, education and training.

An article outlining some of the issues that pertain in the UK. RFA is mentioned as a lower cost certification.

Welt Laden

An Austrian system started in the 1970s. Apparently (still being investigated) organisations can apply to have their products deemed appropriate for the group. This involves a certain amount of documentation, but should not be “too complicated” - let's see.


EZA seems to be the Austrian parent company on the Welt Laden.


There are a number of products that are (quite possibly) in some sense Fair Trade but are not labelled as such.

Illy Coffee

Illy claims to pay its farmers 30% premiums, share education and training and invest in local social practices. They do not advertise this because of some of the folowing reasons

  • They think it is unethical to advertise their ethics,
  • FT is fashionable and will pass,
  • the reasons they are doing it is not to gain market share, but to offer a better product.
  • Fair Trade priducts are interchangable, Illy forms partnerships with growers
  • Fair Trade certification costs money, from prucers as well as purchasers. That money should go to the farmers!

Article in Handelsblatt (in German)

Quartz article about it.

Some notes from someone who still doesn't trust Illy.


Is the largest Italian coffee manufacturer. They have some ethically labelled products, using the Rainforest Alliance system.

Segafreddo Coffee

Segafraddo owns and operates its plantations. So it is not buying in an open market, can control the standards of pay and other compensations, etcetera. (Australian website)

Claim to have much higher wages in the own plantations in Brazil. They also http://www.segafredo.com.au/sustainability/fairtrade//claim to be using traditional, labour intensive methods to offer more employment, as well as talking about schooling.

Other players seem to believe their story, but these guys are a franchise too, so…

  • fairtrade_notes.txt
  • Last modified: 2014-12-03 13:19
  • by timbo