As individual people, it is easy to forget the collective impact we have with our purchases. “Does my dollar really make a difference?” is a question we often ask when deciding between a small brand we’ve never heard of or a larger one we “trust.” We rarely pause to reflect that our spending greatly impacts the lives of others throughout the planet. This holds particularly true with purchases for items that involve slave and child labor; we are so removed from the origins of what we consume, it seldom crosses our minds to consider whose life created our purchase.
As the Starbucks red-cup story hit the news this week, I was shocked and a bit appalled that for all the talk about Christmas and freedom, nowhere in the conversation did the topic arise of how awful Starbucks actual PRODUCT is. There are several reasons we shouldn’t be giving our money to Starbucks: their coffee is the result of child slave labor, their dairy is GMO & hormane laden / antibiotic filled, and they don’t use organic beans. You may not be aware that coffee is actually one of the most pesticided items on the planet.
When you want your next latte, why not try out a local shop that uses fair trade, organic beans and local– or at least organic– dairy? Wouldn’t you rather know that in drinking a cup of coffee, you’re helping others in foreign countries make a living, instead of suffer? And wouldn’t you rather enjoy a drink that wasn’t filled with 250 lbs of chemicals per acre? Currently, Starbucks says that most of their coffee is “ethically sourced” through a program they themselves created– about 90%— yet only 3% of their coffee is fair trade certified by the actual, real, fair trade organizations who are NOT part of Starbucks. And as for organic, about 3% of the coffee is.
Let’s make the conversation one that actually matters: it’s what’s IN your cup that you should be devoting your thoughts, and your money to. If you oppose slave labor and factory farming, vote with your coffee purchase, no matter what color the cup is, and choose to drink happiness.