Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Oxfam Calls on Starbucks to Stop Bullying the Poor

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Oxfam Calls on Starbucks to Stop Bullying the Poor

Starbucks must respect Ethiopia's right to choose its own path to development

Global coffee giant Starbucks has refused to move forward in negotiations with Ethiopia unless it's on the company's own terms, according to international agency Oxfam. Oxfam is calling on Starbucks to stop forcing an alternate agreement on Ethiopia, and come to the table open and willing to negotiate.

Last year the Ethiopian government filed applications to trademark its most famous coffee names, Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe. Securing the rights to these names would enable Ethiopia to capture more value from the trade, by controlling their use in the market and thereby enabling farmers to receive a greater share of the retail price. Ethiopia's coffee industry and farmers could earn an estimated $88 million (USD) extra per year.

Over the course of the last week, Oxfam has spoken out publicly regarding Starbucks' opposition to the Ethiopia's trademarking project.

"Starbucks has engaged in some positive initial steps in helping coffee farmers living in poverty I don't understand why they won't take the next step and come to the table to discuss Ethiopia's proposal in good faith," said Seth Petchers, Oxfam International's Make Trade Fair campaign coffee lead.

Ethiopia has chosen a strategy that best meets its needs, and in consultation with intellectual property experts and legal counsel, has asked Starbucks to sign an agreement that acknowledges Ethiopia's ownership of its coffee names. If Starbucks is genuine in its commitment to farmers it will sign the licensing agreement Ethiopia has offered it, Oxfam says.

Ethiopia's motivations for this project are clear:
Coffee makes up 40-50% of Ethiopia's export income;
15 million Ethiopians are dependent on the coffee trade;
One in four people live on less than $1 a day and 80% of its people live on less than $2 a day; and
Ethiopia ranks in the bottom 10 of the UN human development index of income, health and education.

In a statement released yesterday, Starbucks called on Oxfam to end its campaign.

"Starbucks' position on this is deflecting focus from its responsibilities to Ethiopian farmers. We want to work to find a win-win solution," said Petchers. "Oxfam believes it is critical to engage with corporations in order to achieve long-term sustainable solutions for alleviating poverty." Oxfam has engaged with Starbucks for over a year on this issue.

"However, engaging the public is also a critical element in creating real long-term change, and Oxfam will continue to do this," Petchers continued. Since last Thursday, over 60,000 concerned consumers have faxed or called Starbucks to express their support for Ethiopian coffee farmers.

In the same statement, Starbucks claimed the trademarking initiative might hurt farmers if "roasters stop purchasing Ethiopian coffees." The suggestion that Ethiopia's request for Starbucks and other companies to recognize the country's rights to its coffee names could result in punishment suggests an unwillingness to work in true partnership with farmers.

"Ethiopia wants to continue in its role as a growing source of coffees for the world market - it's in our own interest. We have 15 million poor people who depend on income from coffee every single day. Our goal for this project, which was developed in consultation with the farmers unions, is to help improve conditions for poor coffee growers," said Getachew Mengiste, Director General, Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office. Mengiste will formally respond to Starbucks' recent offer Friday, November 3.

If Ethiopia secures the ownership of its coffee names in the US, as it has in the European Union and Canada, it hopes to work with the coffee industry to build its coffee brands and the value associated with them. Ultimately this will result in a greater portion of the profits to be shared more fairly among farmers and the global coffee industry. /End

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election