Fair Trade and the Third Wave

Fair Trade and the Third Wave


We toss around the terminology “fair trade” quite often, and that we go “above and beyond” the typical standard. Well, for a phrase that holds so much meaning, it sometimes gets lost in the vast sea of things to consider as consumers. In a world and time when information is readily accessible at our fingertips, it becomes even more tricky to know exactly what information is pertinent and what is even true. So, what does fair trade actually mean? What does that have to do with us, the consumers, and our spending practices? What does that mean for the coffee we drink every day?

Well, to begin, the dictionary definition of Fair Trade is: “trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers”. When you see a product with the fair trade certified seal, you are guaranteed that the product meets rigorous social, environmental and economic standards. We like to take it quite a few steps further through Cooperative Coffees (our coop) and extend that fair price exchange to also include financial support for better farming practices, safer working conditions, environmental protection and community development funds.


Many of these practices and conscious consumer purchasing habits have been gaining momentum and popularity over the last ten years or so. This trend is commonly referred to as the “third wave”. The third wave is a shift that can be felt in every aspect along the coffee supply chain, from grower to importer, buyer to coffee shop, and then to the consumer, the story of the singular coffee bean has never been more important. In other words, people CARE about increasing coffee quality, a direct trade model, the importance of sustainability, innovative brew methods, organic farming, etc. As a result, we are seeing a lot of genuinely high quality coffees that have been sourced more sustainably and consciously. It has never been easier to find fair trade, organic, delicious products. Or is it? Yes there are rigorous standards that companies must meet to be certified organic and fair trade, but what about companies that aren’t certified? Or the ones who stretch the lingo a little bit to sound like they are choosing better business practices?



Luckily for us, (and you), Desert Sun is an owning member of the only import coop on this continent, who also just so happens to be the most transparent importers on the market. As a participant in our supply chain, you are able to track every single transaction that takes place in order for the coffee to find it’s way into your cup. We offer an interactive map where you can zoom in or out, select a farm, and read about the individuals and communities that work so hard to provide us with excellent specialty coffees. 


You can see the financial premiums we pay, and where that money is distributed throughout the communities. By keeping up to date on our blogs and socials, you get to learn about the ways our impact fund is helping farmers in need, or how many trees we have planted in our efforts to combat deforestation.

Through drinking our coffee, not only is it delicious, but you have the peace of mind that we do not participate in shady business practices and that everything we do is for the greater good of the planet and the people on it. 

Want to learn more about your coffee? Check out the Fair Trade Proof Map today! 



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