Fair Trade vs. Starbucks

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Five Reasons to Boycott Starbucks

Boycott Starbucks!The Organic Consumers Association has been pressuring Starbucks for 12 years to change its policies and practices around organics and fair trade. Yet apart from one victory—in 2007, when in response to consumer pressure Starbucks agreed to stop using milk containing Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone—the company has largely ignored consumer demand for organic, non-GMO drinks and snacks.

It’s time to ratchet up the pressure. The OCA is joining with GMO Inside to (again) ask Starbucks to switch to organic milk. Until Starbucks switches to organic and GMO-free, the company remains on our boycott list.

Want to learn more?

Here are Five Reasons to Boycott Starbucks

Take Action

Join the "What the Starbucks?!" Day of Action, October 5th

More than 120,000 people have signed petitions to Starbucks CEP Howard Schultz asking Starbucks to switch to organic milk.

How have Schultz and Starbucks responded? With dead silence.

So, it’s on to phase two of the “What the Starbucks?!” campaign.

We’ve declared Sunday, October 5, a National Day of Action. Can you help stir up a social media storm by taking to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to tell Starbucks you want #OrganicMilkNext?

Learn how you can help

Tell Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: Switch to Organic Milk!

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world, with 20,100 stores, and annual sales of $14.9 billion. Imagine the impact a company that size could have on the organic milk industry. And the role it could play in ending the abuse and unhealthy practices rampant in factory farm dairies.

Please join GMO Inside and the Organic Consumers Association in asking Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to switch to organic milk!

Take Action Here

Support Fair Trade!

Here are some things you can do to participate and show your support:

  1. Buy a cup of Fair Trade coffee at your local cafe. If they don't have it... ask that they start serving it.
  2. Ask your local supermarket to sell fair trade coffee, teas and chocolate.
  3. Buy a bar of Fair Trade chocolate for a friend.
  4. Show your support for Fair Trade by encouraging friends and family to buy Fair Trade products.
  5. Call Folgers at 1-800-937-9745 or Starbucks at 1-800-235-2883 and demand that they source more Fair Trade coffee.
  6. Fair Trade is more than coffee and cocoa. Many products are being made under fair working conditions. Check out our links for great gift ideas.
  7. Educate yourself. We have numerous interesting and insightful articles on our website regarding Fair Trade. Please check them out.
  8. At your next party or gathering, serve up Fair Trade coffee. People will be impressed with your socially responsible purchasing.
  9. Source Fair Trade coffee and teas for your office, school, home and church.
  10. Join the Fair Trade Team at OCA. We need you help in circulating petitions.
Please contact the OCA office at: 218-226-4164 for more information.
Past Victories

OCA Declares Victory In Its "Frankenbucks" Campaign

The OCA launched its Starbucks campaign nearly seven years ago. One of the main demands of this campaign has been to force the world's #1 coffee purveyor to stop using rBGH-laced milk in its products. Due to health concerns, rBGH, a genetically engineered cow hormone, is banned in most of the world, but is legal in the U.S.

After hundreds of OCA organized rallies at Starbucks around the world, and years of grassroots pressure, Starbucks announced, as of January 1, 2008, all of Starbucks products are rBGH-free. The OCA will continue to pressure Starbucks to increase its sales of organic and Fair Trade coffee and start selling Fair Trade chocolate.

While Starbucks has slowly bought more certified Fair Trade coffee, it represents only a very small percentage of their total coffee (about 3.7%). Starbucks rarely offers certified Fair Trade coffee as their coffee of the day, nor has it followed its own policy of brewing Fair Trade coffee, on demand.

Read more about OCA's victory in its "Frankenbucks" Campaign

About Fair Trade Coffee

Fair Trade is an alternative way of doing business - one that builds equitable, long-term partnerships between consumers and producers. There are many definitions of precisely what Fair Trade is, but one that is often agreed upon is the FINE definition:

Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.

Many coffee farmers receive prices for their harvest that can be less than the costs of production, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt. They are often forced to sell to intermediaries who pay them a fraction of  the market price, generally between 10-50 cents per pound.

Fair trade coffee currently sells for a minimum of $1.26 per pound.

This money goes directly to coffee farmers, not to predatory intermediaries.

Go further. Read the International Fair Trade Association's 10 Standards of Fair Trade

Buying Fair Trade Coffee is Also a Way to Support Indigenous People

From Cultural Survival Magazine, Sept. 19, 2005:

"In countries that have large indigenous populations, indigenous farmers are the primary producers of coffee crops, and constitute the majority of the members of fair trade coffee cooperatives."

Read Cultural Survival Magazine's Special Issue about Fair Trade and Indigenous People

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