While on assignment in Costa Rica recently, I toured a fair trade-certified coffee cooperative. After witnessing the rigorous work that went into producing each aromatic cup of my beloved beverage, I met with workers on the ground, hearing firsthand their assessment of fair trade. The reviews were positive, one man even calling it a blessing for their families and livelihoods, with the help of vigorous hand motions and an interpreter.
But I was still left wondering. Sure, fair trade has made inroads, but is it doing enough? Even if we focus specifically on coffee, is certification meeting the needs of producers, workers and buyers?