No. 112 - Promoting the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island
- January 2002
JUSTICE AND LOVE
- it’s such a small but innocent pleasure. But could it also hold
the key to global change?
it or not, after oil, coffee is the world’s second largest traded
commodity. In 50 countries, 20 million farming families (60 to 80
million people) depend on coffee for their income. Every day, they
tend the bushes, pick the berries, then depulp, dry and pack them,
so that you can enjoy your daily hit of java.
takes 100 beans to make a cup, and a tree yields 4,000 beans a year,
so if you drink two cups of coffee a day you will need 18 coffee
trees devoted solely to you – and it’s five years before a tree
is fully productive.
the glitz of the trendy coffee houses, however, a terrible tragedy
is unfolding. Since 1998, the world price of coffee has fallen by
50% to the lowest for 30 years, because of surplus production, and
the collapse of the coffee marketing agreement that was in place
until 1989. Growers who were getting $1.20 a pound in 1998 are now
getting less than 50 cents (prices in US$); some earn as little
as 10 cents.
the coffee-growers are struggling with terrible poverty, often earning
less than $3 a day, Nestlé’s profits rose to $1 billion in
2001 ($2.7 million a day), which they attribute to "favourable
commodity prices". Starbucks posted a 41% rise in profits in
the first quarter of 2001, and Starbucks chairman, Howard Schultz,
who earned $2.1 million in 2000, bought himself a $200 million stake
in the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team.
world’s coffee business is dominated by four large corporations
– Proctor and Gamble (Fulgors), Philip Morris, Sara Lee and Nestlé,
who control 60% of US coffee sales and 40% of the world market.
90% of the world’s coffee – the canned stuff that fills the supermarket
shelves - is ‘technified’: it is grown under the full sun, requiring
the destruction of the forest cover, and because the sun-baked soil
quickly loses its fertility, it requires the constant use of pesticides
It gets worse: researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed
a genetically engineered coffee tree, and started a business (Integrated
Coffee Technologies Inc - www.integratedcoffee.com)
to develop it. They have made the berries stop ripening just short
of maturity. Once the whole field is ripe, the berries can be artificially
ripened at the same time by a chemical spray, allowing them to be
harvested mechanically – requiring less labour.
The remaining 10% is grown for specialty consumers who care about
the taste, and it is here that change is happening. Socially and
environmentally conscious coffee drinkers who want their coffee
grown without chemicals, and who want their growers to receive a
decent price, can now buy Fair Trade certified coffee. (TransFair
TransFair USA: www.transfairusa.org)
This guarantees that the coffee is grown by small family farms and
co-operatives in a way that is shade-grown and organic, and that
the co-op receives a minimum $1.26 a pound ($1.41 for certified
organic), plus access to financial and technical support to help
them to avoid the middle-men and loan-sharks (known as ‘coyotes’)
who prey on them. The Fair Trade logo gives you the assurance that
a farm has been certified as fair trade. On Vancouver Island, the
Salt Spring Roasting Company (http://
www.saltspringroasting.com) imports certified Fair Trade coffee,
and there are two importers (selling San Miguel and Ometepe coffee)
who have trustworthy but not certified fair trade relationships
with their growers. (www.levelground.com)
Fair Trade coffee movement started in Holland in 1988, and there
are 17 Fair Trade labeling initiatives around the world. In Switzerland,
5% of all retail coffee sold is certified Fair Trade. As John Cavanagh
says, at the Institute for Policy Studies, "Fair trade brings
the benefits of trade into the hands of communities that need it
most. It sets new social and environmental standards for international
companies, and demonstrates that trade can indeed be a vehicle for
sustainable development." Fair trade coffee allows trade to
be a vehicle for justice and love, instead of suffering and exploitation.
therefore, is a direct plea. If you are a coffee drinker, and you
care about the conditions in which your coffee is grown, please
start drinking fair trade coffee. The local sources are listed in
the Directory, inside. If you are involved with a church, school,
business, college, city hall or other organization, please ask that
they change to fair trade coffee. Ask your local coffee shop and
grocery store to start selling it. Starbucks have agreed to sell
Fair Trade beans in the USA, and brew it once a month. It’s a start,
but they are not doing it in Canada. Please ask them to.
is far more to be done, but this is a beginning. I am not a coffee
drinker, but I hear that fair trade coffee tastes delicious, so
there’s no sacrifice on taste. There is a huge sacrifice being made
by the growers and their families, however – which we have the power
note: the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.
monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a Vancouver
Island and a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures
of community & the joys of deep fulfillment.
to Christine Johnson, Katey Bloomfield, Gail Schacter, Pru Moore,
Maurice Tozer, Richard de Candole, Debra Barr, Gillian Smith, Tim
O’Brien, Anke Bergner, Wilson Hunsberger, Religious Society of Friends
(Quakers), Judith Monroe, Claude Maurice, Andrée Scott, Jocelyn
Braithwaite, Eric Hartley, Anne Johnston & Doug McGregor. Also,
many thanks to Ian Barclay for doing all the address changes &
labels, and Joanna Wilkinson for prepping all the envelopes.
can be sent to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria V9E 2B9. For a receipt,
send a stamped addressed envelope.
EcoNews by email, fill out the form at the top.
(non-profits & low-income free) 1" box ad $35, $2"
box ad $65
Still looking for 1 bedroom suite (pref. with yard) by mature
responsible female (UVic employee) and 2 therapy dogs. Excellent
references for both human and dogs. Call Lynn, 383-7532. Long term.
Will do yard work if needed.
Paper: For the New Year – join the Office Paper Buying Club
from Reach for Unbleached. Chlorine-free recycled paper, 27% below
retail. Order deadline January 31st, delivery 2nd week
Feb. $56 per case (5000 sheets) + GST, PST, delivery. Payment in
advance. Delores Broten email@example.com
Dallas Road Fresh Air, Car-Free Day - Sunday April 14th.
We need a volunteer coordinator to round up 60 marshals to man the
barricades to "herd" the cars. Jane Victoria King firstname.lastname@example.org
Island Blue reports - Thanks to all for your assistance in our
campaign to restore Free Ads to the Times Colonist Classifieds.
Countless loads of useable goods will now find a new life outside
the landfills, parks, & waterways of our Island, and countless
creatures will live on, their habitat no longer threatened by mounting
piles of trash.
Executive Director required by Veins of Life Watershed Society,
a high profile local conservation organization with big plans for
the future. Details - Ted Hayes (656-4158) or David Grace 380-9494.
Applications to Box 36057-1153 Esquimalt Rd, Victoria V9A 7J5 or
email@example.com or fax (250) 383-2084.
Closing January 24, 2002.
STOP FINANCING RAINFOREST DESTRUCTION
you despair about the loss of the world’s rainforests? Well, every
time a forest is cleared by a big company (as opposed to a local
farmer), there is usually a bank involved, just as Manulife Financial
backed Texada’s clearcutting on Salt Spring. Well, as the result
of a four-year campaign by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and
Sawit Watch Indonesia, three of Holland’s top banks have announced
that they will no longer finance projects that involve forest destruction,
such as palm oil plantations. One of the banks, ABN AMRO, includes
logging, pulp and paper, mining and oil and gas developments in
its exclusion. It’s great progress, one step at a time.
With Children About War….
and the creation of peace
book of support for adults who wonder what to say when children
ask them questions about war.
pages $9.00 Available at Atman’s, Crown Publications, Ivy’s, &
you work with a non-profit society, how often have you heard the
complaint that the board members are overworked, and (sigh) "If
only we had more volunteers!". But most NGOs are very poor
at organizing their volunteers. How many have a database of their
members skills and interests? Well, fear not - help is at hand.
The Gaia Project has done us an enormous service by publishing
Managing Environmental Volunteer Programs. The result of a collaboration
with 4 local environmental NGOs, the booklet contains strategies
for creating an effective volunteer enrolment program, including
recruiting, interviewing, creating a volunteer-friendly organization,
training, record keeping, conflict resolution, & evaluation.
It also includes templates for interview questions, application
forms, training programs, evaluation, and record keeping. The booklet
is packed full of useful tips, and should be essential reading for
all board members of all NGOs. Don’t complain – delegate! To obtain
a copy, call The Gaia Project 384-1534 firstname.lastname@example.org
GAS or CLEAN ENERGY?
was the 2nd warmest year on record after 1998, but the
BC Liberals seem unable to comprehend the dangers that the world
faces from global climate change. Soon after they came into office,
they scrapped the province’s climate change business plan. Now they
appear set to expand coal-mining, expand the use of natural gas,
and scrap the offshore moratorium on drilling for oil and gas. There
are two opportunities coming up to register your feelings: a major
rally in Victoria on January 12th, and a chance to speak
to the NEB Hearings process about the proposed Georgia Strait Crossing
(GSX) natural gas pipeline (see Diary). The GSX is to ship gas from
northern BC so that it can be burned in two new yet-to-be-located
cogeneration gas-fired plants, somehow making Vancouver Island "more
self-reliant" in energy. (Huh?). For the low-down on the GSX,
and climate change solutions, see the great GSX site at www.sqwalk.com
and the book Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate
Change by Guy Dauncey (www.earthfuture.com)
offering introductory rates for Dynamic Facilitation to the non-profit
for vision building and getting through contentious issues.
you visit local stores and cafés, you’ll find a variety of
coffees calling themselves ‘organic’, ‘shade grown’, ‘natural’,
‘fair trade’ or ‘fairly traded’. This can be bewildering, so let’s
see if we can help.
means the coffee has been grown using organic methods, without pesticides
or chemical fertilizers; the use of the word may or may not mean
that the coffee is certified organic. Salt Spring Roasting Company
offers 10 varieties of certified organic coffee, and 3 varieties
of ‘natural’ coffee, grown in Ethiopia using natural methods which
have not yet been certified as organic. San Miguel fair trade coffee,
imported by Level Ground from two co-operatives in the highlands
of Colombia, is not certified organic, because it is too dangerous
for certifiers to travel in Colombia, but the growers do not generally
‘Shade grown’ means that the coffee has been grown under
the forest cover, providing habitat for songbirds and other forest
creatures. Some shade-grown coffee is certified as ‘bird-friendly’,
but most is not. San Miguel is grown in 1/3rd full jungle
canopy, 1/3rd small clearings in the forest, and 1/3rd
in the sun.
‘Fair Trade’ means the coffee has been certified by TransFair
Canada or TransFair USA as meeting these standards: (a) the growers
get $1.26 a pound, or 5 cents/lb higher than the market price, whichever
is greater; (b) they are primarily small businesses, family farms
and worked-owned cooperatives which bring significant benefits to
their workers and communities; (c) they are provided with financial
and technical support to help them avoid the loan sharks and ‘coyote’
middlemen; (d) they use organic, shade grown methods, even if not
certified organic; and (e) the finances, practices and policies
of the shippers, as members of the Fair Trade Federation, are open
to the public.
Miguel coffee is not certified ‘Fair Trade’, but it meets the fair
trade standards, in that Level Ground pays the $1.26 price, and
the growers cooperatives in the village of San Miguel have voted
that the premium (the extra above the world market price) is spent
on tuition fees for children in the growers’ community. The same
applies to coffee imported from Ometepe in Nicaragua by the Ometepe
Gulf Islands Friendship Association, (sold under the World Community
Coffee, Ometepe and Songbird labels), which is organic, shade-grown,
and fair-traded, but not certified Fair Trade. In general, if a
coffee does not carry the Fair Trade logo, it is probably not fair
Overall, it is fair to say that while all certified Fair Trade coffee
is also organic and shade-grown, most organic coffee is not fair
traded. The most sustainable coffee is fair trade, organic and shade-grown
- which you’ll get with the six certified fair trade coffees from
Salt Spring Roasting, and the Ometepe coffee. I hope this is not
too confusing. The Directory does not list which brands are in which
stores or cafés; that’s just too complex a task. If you read
the labels, and ask the café where you like your morning
java, you’ll soon find out.
VANCOUVER ISLAND SUSTAINABLE COFFEE DIRECTORY
is not a complete directory; our apologies to anyone we missed.
Please send new listings by email to email@example.com
Call Stacey Toews (250) 544-0932
Call Brian Fennemore, 250-653-4630
or Wayne Bradley, 250-337-5412
Spring Roasting Co :
TransFair Canada: www.transfair.ca
Fair Trade Coffee campaign:
Café, 281 Menzies
The World, 533 Fisgard
Ritmo Latino, 556 Pandora
Fantastico, 965 Kings
Teatro, 990 Blanshard
Coffee, Fort St
City Café, 1501 Haultain
Coffee House Eatery, 753 Yates
Cup Roaster Café, Saanichton
Cuisine, Market Square
Café, 1115 North Park
Robins Coffee Café, Sidney
Café, Market Square off Pandora
James Bay Village
Cadboro Bay Rd
Bill's Food & Feed, 5611 East Sooke Rd
Capers, 3995 Quadra
Colwood House of Nutrition, 310 Goldstream Ave
Bakery & Patisserie, 2032 Oak
Grocer, Royal Oak
Sweet Shop, 738 Yates
5124 Cordova Bay
Village, 535 Pandora
Market, 38 Helmcken
Pharmasave, 1775 Fort
on Yates, 903 Yates
P Market, 2510 Estevan
Coop, 2132 Keating X Rd
Roasting Co, Sidney
Foods, 3829 Cadboro Bay
Store , 651 Johnson
Star Bakery, 313 Cook
Life, 1316 Government
Villages, 2030 Oak Bay
Foods, Admirals Walk
Foods, Brentwood Bay
Foods Market, 6661 Sooke Road
Market, 1058 Pandora
Foods Mkt, 16-6660 Sooke Rd
Bakery, 1517 Quadra
109 McPhillips, Ganges, 107 Morning Side, Fulford Harbour
Grocer, Cobble Hill & Duncan
Wildbird & Nature Store,
Quality Foods, Thrifty’s Longwood
D.I. Bakery Restaurant
Heaven On Earth
Edible Island, Thrifty’s, Rocky
Mountain Café, Plates Eatery, Bar
None Café, Circles
Quality Foods, Super Valu, Java
Junction on the Harbour
River: Nor-Isle Co-op, Pumpernickels
Squirrel Cove Store
OF THE MONTH: SUSTAINABLE COFFEE
1: Ask your local café, restaurant, store, college, school,
city hall, church, business, or brown box organic delivery service
(etc) if they serve fair trade coffee.
2: If NO, ask "Would you be interested to learn about it?"
Show them this copy of EcoNews.
3: If YES, Check out the locally available sustainable coffee
sources, and decide which one you’d like to promote.
4: Contact the supplier, and ask if they would like you to approach
the store or café on their behalf.
5: Prepare to win one more supplier for a more just, more compassionate,
more sustainable world.
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here for previous issues of EcoNews.
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304
Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate
(New Society Publishers)
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