Fair trade coffee has a commercial blend

12th September, 2003

Any industry that has come from nowhere to establish a significant market presence in just over a decade might be expected to be in self-congratulatory mood. But after initial dizzying growth the “fair trade” coffee industry is changing, with the entry of large commercial organisations.

Coffee producers and other delegates at the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation conference this week in London recognise the challenge.

“It does cause a little bit of tension, partly because people feel that they were the ones who started fair trade and pushed it forward and partly because they’re not sure of the motivation of the big companies,” says Eileen Maybin of the Fairtrade Foundation, the UK member of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, the international certification authority that controls the Fairtrade mark.

Continued on FT.com – subscription required.

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