Organic coffee sold in the U.S. is certified by a third party accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It must be grown without the use of any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Crops are also rotated to prevent soil depletion. This also preserves the trees and forests as well as wildlife. Demand for organic coffee has been increasing in recent years while preserving the environment. Some of the largest producers of organic coffee are Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Peru.
The coffeelands trust is an organization that helps coffee workers who have been disabled by landmines which is unfortunately a common problem in countries that have been subjected to conflict and instability. The trust is funded by coffee companies and helps with physical as well as economic rehabilitation.
Fair Trade Coffee
Fair trade coffee is an international certification that ensures that coffee growers and cooperatives receive a fair price that allows them to farm. Coffee farming is traditionally a very difficult and low profit business. Some farmers abandoned the business completely and others received very low prices from middlemen because they had no access to credit. Fair trade also improves the farmer's access to healthcare, education, and safety standards by receiving livable prices. Improved farming and production techniques are also possible. It allows farmers access to importers rather than middlemen who offer discount prices thereby paying them a market price. The excess funds help build communities and sustainability of these farms.
Fair trade coffee benefits the consumer by keeping farmers in production to improve quality, increase yield and thereby maintain proper supply. This improves the quality of coffee and provides price stability to the consumer. A similar certification exists for fair trade chocolate as well as fair trade cocoa. Fair trade coffee gifts benefit the seller, the giver, and the recipient. See article, "Chocolate Needs Sweetness" on fair trade chocolate and child labor problems in cocoa industry.