Can smart buying offer decent work to coffee farmers?

Cafédirect, the UK’s first and largest Fairtrade hot drinks brand, takes a unique approach to buying its product. Via the Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation, it fortifies standard Fairtrade price premiums with additional financial support, ploughing up to 50% of its profits back into the farming communities it buys from. This ensures that it pays a fair price that provides respectable working conditions for its producers and yields the best quality crop.


By working with producers directly, Cafédirect can ensure straight-forward, respectful trade that cuts out the “middle-man”. This helps facilitate the price premium which helps improve livelihoods on the ground, retaining as much value derived from coffee within the farming communities as possible.


Producers are considered more like partners than mere suppliers. Two of the eight board members that contribute to decision-making are producers, providing a crucial voice that informs how the business is governed. Most producers own shares in the business, involving them in the continual improvement of Cafédirect and the delivery of high-quality crop.

Sustainable at source

Cafédirect has created an enterprise with environmental sustainability interwoven into decent working conditions. Through its gold standard, it continually monitors and reduces its environmental impacts. By maintaining a focus on the environment surrounding communities working at source, it can ensure healthy and vibrant work that is fair for all men and women.

This story shows how Cafédirect supports Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, specifically Target 8.5: “By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.”

About Cafédirect

Cafédirect was the first coffee brand to carry the Fairtrade certification. Founded in 1991 as a response to the 1989 global collapse in coffee prices, it prides itself on its plan that goes above and beyond standard fair trade credentials. It invests 50% of its profits into its producers’ foundation that works directly with farmers to improve sustainability and livelihoods.

Learn more about Cafédirect.

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