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Fairtrade celebrates inaugural International Coffee Day

1 October 2015

MEDIA RELEASE

Fairtrade celebrates inaugural International Coffee Day

Whether it’s your morning get-up-and-go or your afternoon pick-me-up, we can all agree coffee is worth celebrating, which is exactly what is happening today - the first official International Coffee Day!

Today, coffee drinkers around the world will be sharing their love of the beverage and supporting the millions of farmers whose livelihoods depend on its production. With 80% of the world’s coffee produced by small scale farmers, Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand is using the day to raise awareness of the benefit our daily caffeine hit can have on farmers in some of the lowest ranking countries on the Human Development Index, including Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Haiti.

“Coffee is big business and remains one of the most valuable primary products in world trade. However, for many of the world’s 25 million coffee farmers, coffee is a labour intensive crop that frequently yields very little financial return,” says Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand CEO Molly Harriss Olson.

“Small scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to the growing effects of climate change, but increasing sales of Fairtrade coffee can help farmers in developing countries combat the devastating impacts and help lift themselves out of poverty,” she says.

Climate change has been identified as a key factor facilitating the outbreak of leaf rust disease, which is affecting over 50% of the total coffee growing area in Central America.

Fairtrade sets standards for a variety of products, including coffee, which focus on three areas of sustainable development; social development, economic development and environmental development. These Fairtrade Standards help to act as a safety net against the unpredictable market and provide security to coffee producers so they will receive a price that covers their average costs of sustainable production.

A major commodity in the Fairtrade system, coffee is a growing industry, currently being produced across more than 30 countries. In 2013 alone, Fairtrade coffee farmer organisations received approximately $NZD 69.7 million in Fairtrade Premium. Of this Premium, approximately 50% was invested back into the producer organisations to improve infrastructure, facilities and processes while the remaining 50% was spent of direct services to local coffee farmers and their communities.

Mike Murphy, Managing Director of Kokako Organic Coffee, has personally seen the positive impacts of the Fairtrade Premium on the ground: "When I first visited the Highlands Organic Agriculture Cooperative (HOAC) in Papua New Guinea in April 2013, I was shown two new classrooms and improved facilities. During my latest visit in August 2015, I noted a third classroom had been built at the same school – all using funds collected from the Fairtrade Premium."

“Essentially, consumers of Fairtrade coffee can enjoy their beverage knowing that their purchase is supporting farming communities in developing countries to raise their standard of living and create a sustainable future for their whole community,” says Ms Harriss Olson.

This new annual celebration has been declared by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) to coincide with the 115th session of the International Coffee Council and the first Global Coffee Forum currently taking place in Milan. The ICO works to bring producing and consuming countries together to exchange views on coffee matters, market conditions and coffee policies.

ENDS

Additional information:

• The first official International Coffee Day takes place on1 October 2015 and is a celebration of coffee’s journey of diversity, quality and passion.

• The campaign includes a website to feature events and other online campaigns dedicated to International Coffee Day. The hashtag #InternationalCoffeeDay is being used on social media sites including Twitter and Facebook.

• The International Coffee Organization is an intergovernmental organization created under the auspices of the United Nations to serve the international coffee community. Established in 1963, the ICO is unique in bringing producing and consuming countries together to exchange views on coffee matters and market conditions, and address coffee policies.

About Fairtrade:

Fairtrade is an independent certification system that offers farmers and workers in developing countries a better deal and improved terms of trade - giving them an opportunity to improve their working and living conditions, plan for a better future and create brighter opportunities for their families and local communities.

Fairtrade provides farmers and workers in developing countries with a fair price (the Fairtrade Price) for their produce, helping protect them from damaging fluctuations in world market prices. They also receive an additional sum of money (the Fairtrade Premium) for investment in social, economic and environmental development in their community, such as educational and medical facilities.


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