Coffee Conscience - Social and Environmental Concern

Americans grow up with the belief that one of those "inalienable rights" referred to in the Declaration of Independence is the right to a cheap cup of coffee ... or so it might seem.  Of course the big corporations who make a lot of money selling coffee will do what ever it takes deliver just what the customer wants.  That's where you come in.  What you demand, in a market based, economy, is what you get.  What we want all Americans to think about are a few important facts:

  • Coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world ... oil being first.
  • Millions of people depend on the production of coffee for their livelihoods.
  • The United States is the largest coffee consuming nation on earth.
  • Cheap coffee in the US means hardship for millions.  The cheaper the coffee, the harder the hardship.
  • Cheap coffee creates ecological hardship.  The cheaper the coffee, the harder the hardship.

Prior to 1989, the United States was a member of the International Coffee Organization (ICO), and was adhering to the International Coffee Agreement (ICA).  The ICO controlled the supply of green coffee beans, which enabled price stabilization.  The countries that adhered to the terms of the ICA is what made this work.  In 1989 the US pulled out of the ICO (and the ICA), and the price of green beans plummeted.  The ICO is currently functioning, but as long as the largest coffee consuming country refuses to re-join the ICO, life is going to be hard, or much worse, for those who grow our beloved coffee, and for the environment.  The links below will help you understand just how serious this is, and what can, and is being done.

Further Information

  • The International Coffee Organization (ICO) The ICO is the main intergovernmental organization for coffee, bringing together producing and consuming countries to tackle the challenges facing the world coffee sector through international cooperation.
  • Coffee Kids This organization exists to improve the quality of life for children and families who live in coffee-growing communities around the world.
  • Global Exchange Global Exchange is an international human rights organization dedicated to promoting environmental, political and social justice. Since our founding in 1988, we have increased the US public's global awareness while building partnerships worldwide.
  • Chiapas, Mexico news Up to the minute news on the latest happenings in Chiapas.