The student-activist group Frogs for Fair Trade is currently mounting a campaign to convince TCU officials to only purchase fair-trade coffee for use on campus.The group’s efforts should be applauded. Not only are these students standing up for their beliefs; they are looking past the boundaries of campus to actively take part in important social issues as well.
According to Make Trade Fair, part of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, the world’s 25 million coffee farmers only receive 2 percent of the total selling price.
At a low profit margin, the group says, these farmers cannot rely on coffee to supply a decent income.
The Rainforest Alliance, which certifies the coffees used at Jazzman’s CafÂ, requires farmers and companies to observe pollution, soil erosion and water use guidelines. The group encourages good management of resources, including money.
Products certified by fair-trade organizations mean farmers in third-world countries are guaranteed a certain price, making this a more economy-based initiative.
While it was a good move for TCU Dining Services to switch Jazzman’s CafÂ to Rainforest Alliance coffee, it needs to go a step further. Coffee sold on campus should carry both seals. TCU should be concerned with both economic and ecological problems.
While some increase in price would be required to make this shift, it could be easily shared between TCU Dining Services and the student body.
When Frogs for Fair Trade passes its petitions later this month, students should sign in support. But after that, they should look into what else can be done to help both people and the environment.
Brian Wooddell for the Editorial Board.