The unacceptable human cost of coffee

When a consumer enjoys coffee in Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea or any other developed country, he does not suspect that the net benefit to coffee growers is less than one cent of the price paid for a cup, usually between $ 1.50 and $ 3.50. (See: Less than one cent per cup of coffee)

Many of the coffee companies, in collusion with NGOs and 'development' institutions of developed nations like GIZ, USAID, SDA, UK AID, AICS, AFD, Spanish Cooperation, etc. deceive consumers by making them believe that their coffee is ETHICAL, FAIR and SUSTAINABLE. (See: Fairtrade is not fair)

On the agricultural side of the coffee industry the only things truly sustainable are poverty and child labor. 'Development aid' in coffee is insignificant, especially when compared to the billions of dollars that "donor" countries fail to pay to producing countries and with what they receive in taxes. (See: EFE Germany has collected more than 50 billion euros in coffee tax since 1950)

The business model of the global coffee industry is neo-colonial; it concentrates profits, added value and also most taxes in developed nations, perpetuating poverty and the human cost in coffee producing nations.

The International Coffee Agreement (ICA) of 1983 resulted in representatives from producing and importing nations agreeing on a minimum price of $1.20 per pound and a maximum price of $1.40. That 1983 ICA price band adjusted for inflation should now be between $2.95 and $3.44 per pound, but the reality is that the price of coffee is now $1.30 per pound. In addition, the buying power of US $1.30 today equates to only US $0.53 compared to 1983.

This price reflects neither the reality of the market nor the cost of production, much less the value of crop for the very successful coffee industry, which generates annually tens of billions of dollars in profits and taxes for developed countries. Prices paid to coffee growers have been gone downwards while prices paid by consumers for each cup of coffee have multiplied upwards. This inequitable equation keeps tens of millions of people living in extreme poverty, destroying the lives of tens of millions of children. More than 25 million families live from coffee production around the world.

See the report The Source: The Human Cost Hidden Within a Cup of (Certified) Coffee, The Weather Channel - Telemundo 2017, by journalists Juan Carlos Frey and Mónica Villamizar.

Injustice in the coffee industry, including the so-called ‘sustainability standards’, requires as a response a new transparent business model in which consumers compensate directly producers and farm workers, and provide their families and especially their children the social welfare they deserve, because every cup sold by the coffee industry is the result of the hard work and sacrifice of rural communities.

That is why we in CAFÉ FOR CHANGE work to implement We Share, a transparent shared value system with compensation of at least 10CentsPerCup of coffee sold in developed countries, to eradicate hunger, extreme poverty and child labor in coffee regions. (See: Hunger in the Coffeelands)

All girls and boys in the coffee regions should have access to secondary school and all workers deserve to be paid a living wage. Amal Clooney, wife of George Clooney, a prominent lawyer and human rights advocate, will surely agree with me, even if the business model of George's "bosses" is neocolonial and harms millions of children who do not have anyone like Amal defending their rights.

Compensating coffee producing communities with 10CentsPerCup, with transparent shared value, is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice.

George, I look forward to you sharing at least 10CentsPerCup.

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