Tim Dominick wrote:The can of worms comes flying open when a consumer asks you "who can assure me that you're really fairly trading"
I can show the chain from certified FT to me (ie direct from my broker) surely that is enough?
or to put it another way, there are parts off my books that are open to review, as they would if we were actually certified in any case. If they weren't open, surely I am hiding something?
Tim Dominick wrote:However, what happens when a shady importer knows you aren't reporting your purchases to transfair or using a third party audit and they decide to sell you a coffee that they paid .99 a pound for as FT coffee? Believe it or not, such crap happens...
Tim Dominick wrote:Distilled down to this, the concept of fair trade makes a hell of alot of sense, too bad there is so much political baggage associated with the execution.
Now downside.. we find that it hasn't really brought any new buyers to us who specially want certified coffee and it's a bit disappointing in that way. Maybe in the future utz kapeh certification will be better recognised and we will actually see more sales of certified coffee.
P Allen wrote:From how I understand it, most green brokers are required to provide proof of certification upon request for any given coffee. I've asked for this many times, and tend to have it faxed over to our office. Then, should a customer of ours ask if something is Fair Trade, Organic, etc, we can simply show them the faxed certificate and explain that it was a condition of buying that origin.
Since none of our customers have had a problem with this so far, we haven't seen the need to register with those organizations.
Tim Dominick wrote:I take issue with piggy-backing on another entities certification. With organic certification it is actually illegal.
Sure, you can probably assume you aren't being fed false documents, and you can tell your customer that the guy ahead of me took care of his paperwork, paid his fees, and dealt with the system.
Then I have to ask: Why are you willing to reap marketing benefits associated with putting a label on your product without being an active participant in the system? If fair trade or organic aren't important enough to you to warrant your active participation, why even mention these terms to your customers? If you aren't willing to get your rosating plant certified as organic, how can you justify calling your coffee organic? If you have issues with transfair and you aren't creating a different model for third party certification, why are you happy to assure your customers that a third party you are not affilliated with has signed off on the transactions?
Steve wrote:I refuse to pay for a badge to ease the consumers conscience. I'll pay good money for good coffee not for a badge.
Tim Dominick wrote:I can appreciate the attitude of reluctance to pay premiums for FT certification. This is healthy skepticism and important to your business. If our company was making a choice to join today, knowing what we know now, it would be a much, much more difficult choice.
A good portion of the fees paid have been spent on advertising and POS materials. This fuels the awareness and creates the demand that is felt by roasters like TD. As he stated, it was a business decision to get in bed with a group of left coasters.
As someone who has dropped some bucks to TF over the years I feel entitled to ask roasters why they're happy to help themselves the revenue from marketing FT coffee without the obligation to report their purchases and pay the associated fees. I have no issues with a roaster who buys FT coffee and doesn't apply the label and wishes to have no association with TF.
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