Change the world one coffee at a time

Right now it is Fair Trade fortnight in NZ. There have been events all over the country to raise awareness of the terrible working conditions many people in the developing world suffer from – tiny wages, ridiculously long hours, or dangerous conditions – and the benefits of buying ethically produced goods.

If you haven’t been to any events yet (or brought much fair trade goods in the past) there is a way you can help out tomorrow. To promote awareness of global poverty and Fair Trade fortnight a young New Zealander, Divya Dhar, has organized a social experiment. She and the P3 Poverty Foundation are asking people to go into a cafe this Friday, and buy a cup of Fair Trade coffee or hot chocolate not for themselves, but for the next person who comes into the store after them.  

To help them measure the success of their experiment they’re asking anybody who’s keen to do this to email them as well at

I think this is a clever idea since it will mean that a lot of people are offered a Fair Trade coffee who have never had one before. Hopefully, the experience will show them that Fair Trade coffee is just as nice as normal coffee and, also, get them thinking about the wider benefits of buying Fair Trade. 

What do you think? Will you try it?

20 Comments Posted

  1. So much applause, so many fans!
    My cold, cold capitalist heart is beginning to thaw.
    Thank you kind friends.

  2. @James

    Didn’t you see him plugging his business up top 😛
    he just has to make the step from co-operatve to business 😀
    I applaud it again.

  3. “Ideological nonsense from James, who, it seems, learns nothing as time goes by.”

    How can you say that fly when in the next breath you say virtually the same thing I did?

    “Until the bullies, shysters, con-artists, war-mongers, bankers, financiers, advertisers, politicians and other conniving exploiters move in and twist the ‘market’ to advantage themselves, leaving the true farmers screwed.
    Rhymes with “Tui”.

    Exactly! And the twisting of the market can ONLY happen with State interferance and the use of its monopoly on force to dispense favours at the expense of others…which makes it non-free by definition

    Well said Fly…you got it.Make a Libertarian of you yet…;-0

  4. Until the bullies, shysters, con-artists, war-mongers, bankers, financiers, advertisers, politicians and other conniving exploiters move in and twist the ‘market’ to advantage themselves, leaving the true farmers screwed.
    Rhymes with “Tui”.

  5. Greenfly, don’t forget that we don’t really have Free Trade – you have subsidies being all the rage in the United States and Europe, the People’s Republic of China has an artificially low currency, and there are millions of other forms of trade protection that isn’t covered in these Free Trade Agreements.

    If we had true Free Trade (i.e. no tariffs, no subsidies, no fixed/pegged currencies, no quotas, &c.), then the farmers of the Third World would benefit massively, as the products that they produce would be able to fetch higher prices in the global market.

  6. The fairest trade is free trade.Eliminate the red tape and State interferance and let people buy and sell as they are able to and choose to..

  7. great, I just had to check honestly because I know lots of people who bemoan this sort of thing and then go and pull the blatantly slave labour instant coffee and biscuits

    I applaud your business and your business plug 😛

  8. stephensmikm – I work in a food cooperative and we sell fairtrade coffee. I drink that. Presently I have a cup of Organic Columbian 100%Organic Arabica Shade grown from the ranges of Santa Marta.
    Interestingly (for me anyway) we’ve just had staying with us, a Columbian man who picked coffee when he was at home. He is returning to work with indigenous Kogi having learned all he could about Permaculture here.
    Kogi, btw, are sending warnings out to the rest of the world (they are normally completely non-communicative) about their observations from the top of the mountains they live on, which are drying and dying due to radical changes to the atmosphere – it has stopped raining up there and everything is dying.

  9. um I’m more concerned of their destruction of rainforests and slave labour but you know, all good greenfly

    “How many times do you drink Nestle or budget brands?”
    answer please?.

  10. bj chip

    Heard of NesCafe? well in my eyes it isn’t really coffee either 😀
    but many people and companies buy the stuff in those huge office place tins for the sheer means that it is a cheap way of keeping your employees awake and depressed

  11. Dunno… not coffee though. Nestle makes chocolate… sells some other stuff with misleading labels, also not coffee.

    Fair trade is fine with me, when and where I can get it, but I do not choose by this measure, but must take it where I find it. If it is not available in time and place I have none to spare to seek it.


  12. If you buy Fairtrade certified products that have the proper logo on them, then you can be sure that the growers are being paid a fair minimum price for their products, and that in addition some of the money is paid to the local communities. The Fairtrade Mark is an independent consumer guarantee, that standards have been met and assessed through regular audits by independent, qualified auditors. There’s plenty more info on the Oxfam NZ website, e.g. Fairtrade FAQ:

    Fairtrade is certainly not greenwash. For me, it’s like buying free range eggs. It does have an ethical value.

  13. ‘Change the world, one coffee at a time’
    I know I do.
    Sometimes I change the world 5 or 6 times a day!

  14. just remember the problems that fairtrade does create – ie the 3$ instant budget mixes will no longer be viable for families… Though I wholly support free trade and tend to buy it over other brands when in the supermarket if the price is acceptable 😀

  15. Assuming the benfits of buying fair trade coffee flow to the intended people, why wouldn’t the ethical value be realised?

  16. Fair trade is a just a marketing mechanism to reveal your price discrimination position. Since coffee shops can’t change prices to match each persons willingess to pay (I really need coffee now, so will pay $5 versus I like coffee but happy to wait 5 mins so only will pay $3, or I feel special and therefore will treat myself to a mega latte with soy, caramel…)

    The mark up between regular coffee and fair trade (or a large latte) exceeds the marginal cost. So what is happening is that the fair trade consumer is revealing a willingness to pay more for a product (e.g. leather car seats versus ordinary).

    Anyway – enjoy the coffee, but realise what your actually doing is paying a premium for a homogenous good due to branding rather than any actual ethical value.

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