When a company and a consumer come together and shell out the extra few dollars for fair trade coffee, they're putting it in the pockets of those who truly need it. What can go into the coffee that isn't fair trade?
1. Child and slave labor
Unfortunately, coffee produced under non-strict or non-existent standards breed terrible working conditions. "An [...] investigative report by ABC-affiliate KGO television in San Francisco revealed children as young as 6 or 8 years old at work in the fields." Part of the fair trade agreement includes a clause that prohibits atrocities such as these.
2. Toxic chemicals
Workers often live on the land of coffee farms and are forced to use the same water to bathe, wash dishes, and drink from- often times the same water used to water the crops. Fair Trade organizations set up structural plans for small farmers to practice safe handling of chemicals and waste. Otherwise, a lot of the waste may end up right back in the growing soil.
3. Terribly working conditions
Unpaid overtime, lack of adequate healthcare, unfair quotas and wages lower than $3 a day are all issues that third world coffee farmers are experiencing, even today.
Although the fair trade certification is well known in the coffee industry, many other industries face the same issues. Clothing, chocolate, spices, and other food items are a few among them- many of which offer fairly trade options (including Death Wish Coffee).