"Coffee as a Laboratory"
International Development expert, Michael Sheridan, discusses fair trade coffee as a tool to alleviate poverty in Latin America. Michael shares insights for how CRS has expanded and evolved our work in the coffee industry to provide small-holder farmers and co-ops access to markets and a environmentally sustainable enterprise. 16 minutes.
Michael has been kicking around the coffeelands since 1995 and working on coffee for CRS since 2004. In that time, he has worked from CRS HQ in Baltimore, where started the CRS Fair Trade Coffee program(2004-2007), Guatemala City, where he worked on the CAFE Livelihoods and CUP projects in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua (2007- 2011), and Quito (20011-2015) where he led the Borderlands Coffee Project in Colombia and Ecuador, as well as other special CRS coffee initiatives. Currently Michael serves as the Director of the CRS Coffeelands program. He is a member of the SCAA Sustainability Council, a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, a graduate of Georgetown (BS) and Princeton (MPA), and an avid home-roaster who shares his home with his wife, three kids and a pug.
Sustainability in Practice
A conversation with five women who are among the best thinkers (and doers) on sustainability issues in specialty coffee, by Michael Sheridan. This blogpost, published on April 28, 2015, features comments from executives from Farmer Brothers Coffee, S&D Coffee, Starbucks, Counter Culture Coffee and Volcafe. Coffee.
What Difference Does Policy Make?
In this blogpost published on February 26, 2015, Sheridan argues that regulatory and policy changes at origin and in the marketplace should be on the list of topics for discussion given their implications for ongoing commercial operations as well as the economic, social and environmental impacts of the coffee trade.
A conversation with Ric Rhinehart on the future of Coffee in Mesoamerica
In this October, 16, 2014 blogpost, Sheridan interviews Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Executive Director Ric Rhinehart about comments he made a week earlier at an industry conference, Let’s Talk Coffee, and their implications for growers, governments and coffee industry.
It’s the Market Stupid
In this blog, published April 7, 2014, Sheridan shares his insights that farmers’ behavior at the source are influenced, in whole or in part, by the incentives the market creates, or doesn’t.
Six Lenses on Gender
Beginning with the statement “It seems 2015 is shaping up to be the year of gender equity in specialty coffee” Sheridan discusses, in his February 10, 2015 blogpost, the six lenses on gender that inform CRS in its work and may be helpful as the specialty coffee community gets to work on the issue of gender equity in coffee.
Farmworkers in the Coffeelands
Farmworkers in the Coffeelands: Improving Conditions for the Industry’s Most Vulnerable Players
In this 12-page article from the January-February 2016 issue of Roast Magazine, Michael Sheridan addresses a glaring gap in most contemporary approaches to fairness in the coffee trade: farmworkers! Millions of men, women - and yes - children toil, mostly invisibly, in coffee fields, living on the margins. They are “largely excluded from coffee’s promise.” In addition to discussing the ‘who, what, and when’ of the problem, Sheridan proposes four reasons why the specialty coffee industry should deepen its relationship with farmworkers beyond just insuring compliance with local labor laws. Proactive engagement with suppliers at the ground level is needed to identify the breakthrough solutions.
Supply Chains and Labor
Perspectives on Fair Trade: Pedro Ascencio, El Salvador
A small-scale farmer from El Salvador explains the difference between fair trade and conventional markets and the importance of being able to negotiate prices - a two minute video by CRS Fair Trade.
Who We Are and What We Believe In
A video by Equal Exchange. This 3-minute video shares the human faces of farmers who are the fuel of Fair Trade supply chains.
From Crop to Cup: The Supply Chain
By CRS Fair Trade. This 2-pager lays out the supply chain for coffee, first looking at the conventional chain and then the Fair Trade chain.
Where Coffee is Produced with Forced Labor
The website page published by Verité provides a perspective on the problems of forced and child labor in the production of coffee and includes flowcharts of the coffee marketing and coffee value chains as well as a link to its 124-page report, Research on Indicators of Forced Labor in the Supply Chain of Coffee in Guatemala.
The Problem with Fair Trade Coffee
Nicki Lisa Cole and Keith Brown. Nicki Lisa Cole is in the sociology department at Pomona College. She studies inequality in global supply chains and consumer culture, and is currently researching the supply chain and brand power of Apple, Inc. Keith Brown is in the sociology department at Saint Joseph’s University. He is the author of Buying into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality, and Consumption. The authors explore “a long-standing tension between the founding values of the fair trade movement and the profit-driven ethos of the fair trade market.” This article was originally published in Contexts, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 50-55
10 Reasons Fair-Trade Coffee Doesn't Work
Bruce Wydick is a professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco. His new book, "The Taste of Many Mountains", is about the lives of coffee growers in Guatemala and the impact of fair-trade coffee and is published by Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins). In his blogpost on Huff Post Food (first appeared on August 7, 2014), Wydick discusses the mixed results of academic research in his analysis of why Fair-Trade Coffee does not work.
Assessing the Impact of Fairtrade on Poverty Reduction through Rural Development Final Report Fairtrade Impact Study
Commissioned by TransFair Germany and Max Havelaar Foundation Switzerland. This 95-page report describes the study of six cases of Fairtrade certified producer organizations from six product categories and assesses how rural development – defined by 5 thematic areas – and thus poverty was impacted.