Procter & Gamble Launches Retail Sales of Fair Trade Coffee(A)
This month, Procter & Gamble expanded its efforts to sell Fair Trade coffee by launching the sale of organic, Fair Trade Certified beans in grocery stores and other retail outlets. The move comes one year after Procter & Gamble reached agreement with a coalition of shareholders (including Trillium Asset Management) to begin offering Fair Trade Certified coffee to wholesale accounts such as universities and restaurants and through its website to online consumers. Those products became some of the company’s most popular website offerings. Now with this retail launch, Procter & Gamble becomes one of the largest gourmet coffee roasters to sell Fair Trade Certified coffee in grocery stores. Procter & Gamble has the Folgers’ and Millstone brands, and the Fair Trade coffees are in the Millstone brand. This is particularly important because small coffee farmers around the world have faced an economic crisis over the past seven years as a glut in supply has driven commodity prices for coffee beans below what it costs many farmers to produce them. In other words, small farmers often face the prospect of loosing money on every pound of coffee they sell. Certified Fair Trade coffee provides a guaranteed minimum price to small farmers and co-operatives that is well above market prices and designed to provide a sustainable living.