Oxfam coffee = the best selling fair trade coffee in Belgium

Each year Oxfam buys an odd 450 tonnes of Fairtrade certified unburned coffee. In doing so, the organization leads the top 10 of fair trade coffee brands in Belgium, as it has been since the early days of Fairtrade labelled coffee. The top 10 organizations together make up for 80 % of the volume of fair trade coffee sold in Belgium.

Els De Causmaecker, Sales employee at Oxfam Fair Trade, is rightfully happy about this. She states: “The very fact that we – an organization striving for structural change in trade chains – are on top of the list, shows that customers appreciate our work and approach.”

All Oxfam Fair Trade coffees are Fairtrade certified and carry the international Fairtrade label, previously known as Max Havelaar. Nicolas Lambert, director of Fairtrade Belgium: “Because of Oxfam’s many years of experience and their prominent position in the fair trade coffee market, it is only logical for them to have the largest impact on coffee farmers.”

This is indeed the case, because Oxfam does so much more than just buying and selling coffee beans. Since 2003 the organization has sold 6.600 tonnes of unburned fair trade coffee beans. This comes down to 3,4 million dollars’ worth of Fairtrade premiums paid to coffee farmer cooperatives. And that makes all the difference.

“We work exclusively with cooperatives of small and vulnerable producers and buy all our coffee directly from the South”, says Adeline Vandorpe, coffee purchaser and expert at Oxfam Fair Trade. “Moreover, we offer the farmers a living income by paying them a fair price, by entering upon long term relationships with them and by enabling pre-financing.”

Apart from the 450 tonnes of unburned beans bought for its house brand, every year Oxfam Fair Trade also buys an extra 300 tonnes of unburned beans. These beans are not processed in the house brand, but are resold. On top of the purchase price, Oxfam pays an annual sum total of 330.000 dollars’ worth of Fairtrade premiums to cooperatives of smaller coffee producers in countries like DR Congo, Ethiopia and Peru.

The pioneering story began in 1971, long before the advent of (fair trade) labels, when Oxfam-Wereldwinkels purchased its very first bag of fair trade coffee from Tanzania. In 2010 Oxfam was the only one to launch a large scale reintroduction of coffee from DR Congo onto the Belgian market. For almost fifty years now Oxfam has been doing this kind of pioneering work in fair trade and fair trade coffee expertise. Half a century of experience has resulted into sustainable coffee farming and fair prices for coffee farmers. This is because Oxfam, as a movement, fights for structural change. Thanks to the unconditional dedication and passion of 6.500 volunteers, the organization also manages to increase awareness and influence policy.

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