Ever since Mercanta started, we have combined good business with good ethics. But what do we mean when we talk about ‘ethics’ in coffee purchasing?

Who, for example, should determine what is a ‘fair’ price for coffee? A commodity market? The International Coffee Organisation (ICO)? A charity or not-for-profit organisation? A retailer…?

Well, how about the coffee growers themselves? Let’s consider what really matters to coffee growers:

  • Their cost of production (labour, fertilizer, fuel, machinery, maintenance, etc.)
  • The local market price in local currency (most commonly, one price for all qualities, often for partly processed beans)
  • The commodity market price (the buyer of last resort)
  • The Fairtrade guaranteed minimum price (if available to the growers)

Our deal with our growers is simple – we pay premium prices for finest quality specialty grade beans. Our growers also remain partners in the value chain from tree to cup.