Following advancements in bringing Fair Trade Certified coffee to TCU, Frogs for Fair Trade are trying to take their campaign to the next level. The student group succeeded in getting Starbucks locations on campus and Jazzman’s CafÂ in the Tucker Technology Center to offer the coffee but now wants Jazzman’s to sell Fair Trade Certified coffee exclusively, said Seth Harris, co-coordinator of Frogs for Fair Trade.
The fair trade movement is an effort to ensure fair compensation for coffee, cocoa and tea farmers worldwide so they can meet their basic needs, said Rory Phllips, founder of the Frogs for Fair Trade.
But John T. Harvey, professor and chairman of the economics department, said that because fair trade coffee is more expensive, it will not sell unless students care about the plight affecting coffee farmers.
He said that for the campaign to succeed, Frogs for Fair Trade will have to focus mainly on educating TCU students – the consumers who will make the decision to buy the coffee, and they will dictate the success of fair trade coffee at Jazzman’s.
“Unless the students care, what you are asking (Jazzman’s) to do is to go broke,” Harvey said.
Legia Abato, the marketing manager for TCU Dining Services, said fair trade coffee is selling, but not as fast as regular coffee.
Fair Trade Certified coffee costs 15 cents more per cup than regular coffee, and 4 percent of all coffee sales on campus are Fair Trade Certified, said Sedric Rogers, a supervisor for TCU Dining Services.
Jazzman’s makes approximately $16 from fair trade coffee each day, while it earns $180 per day from regular coffee, Rogers said.
Frogs for Fair Trade are urging Jazzman’s to be active in the fair trade movement because it is a fast-growing business spreading to more than 90 locations every year, Phillips said.
He said selling fair trade coffee at Jazzman’s helps accelerate sales nationwide because Jazzman’s, which has more than 120 locations, markets to students, who are typically active in social movements.
Tina Gordon, retail manager for Jazzman’s CafÂ, said that to bring Fair Trade Certified coffee to TCU this fall, Jazzman’s had to switch its coffee supplier from Seattle’s Best to Rainforest Alliance, which provides regular coffee as well.
Phillips said paying extra for fair trade products is worth it for students because it gives them a way to affect social change.
Lauren Novak, a sophomore music major, said she has no problem paying more for fair trade coffee because it supports a good cause.
Phillips said selling fair trade coffee entirely at Jazzman’s will not constrain students because they will still have a choice to purchase regular coffee blends at Starbucks locations on campus.
Abato said Jazzman’s Cafecannot sell fair trade coffee exclusively because the business needs to sustain its own brand name coffee.
“To change all the coffee to fair trade, we will have to get rid of (Jazzman’s) brand itself,” she said. “Just as any brand, we cannot change things with it.