Coffee is big business in world trade — second only to oil. It’s a commodity, subject to the market’s ups and downs. That’s led to the suffering of many of the world’s 25 million coffee farmers, who often get little financial return on this labour-intensive crop. Bare subsistence, environmental degradation, unstable societies: It’s not fair!
But it can be fair. In the late 1980s, after nearly a century of fluctuating markets and crashing economies, a group of fair-minded people realized there had to be a better way. The fair trade coffee movement was born.
When we started Kicking Horse Coffee in 1996, we scoured the planet to find bona fide Fair Trade coffee. We discovered the Fair Trade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), an umbrella organization that sets fair trade standards, and FairTrade Canada, the national certification organization. These organizations demand rigorous monitoring, auditing and certification before they allow us to proudly use the Fair Trade label.
We are now the largest Fair Trade roaster in Canada. All our coffee is 100% Certified Fair Trade and 100% Certified Organic.
Fair Trade benefits the farmer by guaranteeing them a fair price for their coffee. This brings them economic stability and a higher standard of living. It improves their access to loans, provides technical assistance, increases health care, and expands educational opportunities. While Fair Trade improves the wellbeing of the producers, it is just the beginning of an equitable economic and social system that Kicking Horse Coffee supports wholeheartedly.
Fair Trade benefits the environment by encouraging farming and production practices that are sustainable, by minimizing pollutants, pesticides and herbicides, and by encouraging organic agriculture techniques.
Fair Trade benefits the coffee lover by giving him or her the option to buy according to principles and values. It assures people that the product they’re buying is ethical, which helps them feel good about themselves.
We’ve got all that goodness in our coffee and it still tastes wicked.
2011 Annual Report (PDF 4.3MB)
2011 Year in Review (PDF 516KB)