This morning I found in my inbox the following email from my friend Lacey:
Each year, coffee companies make billions of dollars. Starbucks alone earned almost $5.8 billion in net revenues during the first three quarters of 2006.
Yet, for every cup of coffee Starbucks sells, poor farmers in coffee-growing countries like Ethiopia earn only about $.03.
Even worse, while Ethiopian farmers grow some of the finest name-brand coffees in the world – think Harar, Yirgacheffe, and Sidamo – they don’t see the premium profits those names command among consumers.
Oxfam and a coalition of allies are asking Starbucks to sign this agreement. According to one coalition member, control of the name brands could increase Ethiopia’s coffee export income by more than 25 percent – or $88 million annually. This money could go a long way to help lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty.
So please, help us convince Starbucks to sign this agreement with Ethiopia. Poor farmers deserve a fair share of the profits.
This email came because Lace had it sent to me via MakeTradeFair.com, a site devoted to bringing about fair trade for medicines, impoverished coffee growers, and more. So if you’re a big coffee drinker, like myself, go on over and sign the petition. Also check out the Fair Trade Federation to learn how screwed the growers of our beloved coffee actually get.
And just for the record if there were at least a half way decent non-franchise (or at least a local franchise) within five miles of my house, I’d abandon Starbucks altogether. However, this is currently not the case…well, actually there is one in Mt. Juliet, but it closes at 5:00 pm. :-/