Our coffee commitment
All our own label No.1 coffee,
and coffee in Waitrose cafes is Fairtrade
We sell over 50 Fairtrade coffee products and estimate that our sales generate $670,000 annually in Fairtrade Premiums. This revenue goes directly back into the communities producing it, providing the coffee farmers with stable incomes, better working conditions and fairer trading terms.
About 80% of the world’s coffee is produced by 25 million smallholder coffee farmers. It is one of the most valuable and widely agricultural products but many of the smallholder farmers fail to earn a reliable living due to fluctuating global prices, climate changes and reduced yields.
One of the producer groups benefiting through our cafe coffee sales is ASOPEP in Colombia. ASOPEP is an association of 300 coffee farmers working in a remote region of Huila. With their Fairtrade Premiums ASOPEP have been able to improve post harvesting processes and improve access to their co-operative.
Meet the farmers growing Java’s first Fairtrade beans
In the forested hills above the Ijen Plateau, East Java, the farmers of the Kayumas cooperative set out for work. Mr Rijal has been up since sunrise because morning is the best time of day to nurture his prize coffee crop.
“You must take care of your coffee trees,” he says. “When we are harvesting, it is best to work early in the day, when it is cool and there is moisture in the air. We want to pick at exactly the right time to ensure freshness.”
For Mr Rijal and Kayumas’ other farmers, coffee is both a livelihood and a labour of love. They are especially proud of their coffee crop because it was certified as Fairtrade in May 2018 - the only cooperative to achieve this in all of Java.
The Kayumas cooperative largely focuses on growing the premium bean, arabica. Its coffee is grown following organic principles which is a testament to the farmers’ commitment to preserving their environment.
The Indonesian island’s coffee has long been prized for its rich, deep flavour. Javanese coffee is typically rich and earthy. The Kayumas’ beans for our No.1 Java ground coffee are also sun-dried, giving the coffee bright, citrus notes, balanced by deep, chocolatey undertones. Being 100% Fairtrade, it’s also good for the environment and the communities where it is sourced.
"We’re the first UK supermarket selling Fairtrade-certified Java coffee which makes me really proud. For years, we’ve had an ambition to make all our No.1 own-brand coffees Fairtrade. Java was the last one to tick off our list. It’s taken a long time and a lot of hard work, but with the help of Fairtrade and the amazing farmers here at Kayumas, we’ve finally managed it.”
Waitrose coffee buyer
It’s taken nearly three years of work for the farmers of Kayumas to achieve their certification. The Fairtrade mark brings many benefits – access to educational and training programmes, improved working conditions and assistance with environmental sustainability.
“Fairtrade is such an important initiative for the coffee industry in Indonesia. Having a guaranteed price means farmers can focus on sustainability, environmental standards and social welfare. That’s why it’s so important that UK consumers continue helping us to support projects like this.”
Fairtrade’s Indonesian coffee manager
At present, the country has only 24 Fairtrade coffee cooperatives. Only 1.5% of the 565,000 metric tonnes of green bean coffee exported from Indonesia is sold as Fairtrade.
Words and images by Oliver Berry