Are you a tea or coffee drinker, or both? I love my tea and can drink it all day long! It is a huge part of your every day but do you ever stop to think about where your tea or coffee comes from? Who grows it, picks it and produces it? What the trade conditions are or whether there are sustainable practices in place?
It is easy to just order your coffee at break time, or pour a cup of tea without thinking about this at all, but it is very important. We are very excited at Recycled Interiors to be launching our range of fairtrade tea and coffee today, from Tradewinds. We partnered with this brilliant company for our reader event in Melbourne with Barry DuBois in April and ever since, have wanted to work further with this great Aussie brand.
It takes a lot to grow and maintain a successful Australian business, let alone put social change and ethical trade at the heart of what you do. Tradewinds is one small, dedicated Australian company who has done just that, for nearly 40 odd years… building partnerships with farmers in developing countries and importing their tea and coffee, since 1977. Yep, that’s before fairtrade was even a “thing” and before the world wide web even existed.
But “trade grounded in justice” has been a guiding principle since the beginning and through communities of ethically minded, passionate individuals, Tradewinds has spread the word far and wide and made a significant impact both here and in developing countries.
This is why we are partnering with Tradewinds as our tea and coffee of choice for our business:
1. The Teas of Integrity range gives more than double the benefit to Sri Lanka (compared to standard fairtrade products) because these teas are grown, picked, processed and packed in Sri Lanka. (eg. You pay $3.90 for a pack of tea $1.56 stays in Sri Lanka, compared to 70c staying in Sri Lanka for standard fairtrade teas).
2. The team at Tradewinds have seen firsthand the changes to the lives of Sri Lankan tea estate families. They have better housing, healthcare, toilets, education, family support, hope and goals for their community’s future.
3. For the first generations ever, children of Sri Lankan tea estate workers have received sufficient education to become teachers and pursue other professions.
4. Sri Lankan women have been given opportunities for self-empowerment through creating new businesses such as weaving baskets for tea packaging, and home vegetable gardens (where excess produce can be sold at market).
5. Tradewinds has directly funded student scholarships in Timor-Leste so that children from remote farming families can get training and qualifications which will lead to higher paying jobs and increased opportunities in the future.
6. They are providing extensive support to small farmer co-operatives in Timor-Leste in every area of their process and production, to help them increase livelihoods and grow their future choices.
7. They have imported and sold approx. $1m of Timorese coffee in Australia.
8. The Timorese farmers are paid the highest per kilo amount of any farmers in Timor (even higher than the fairtrade certified coffee).
9. Tradewinds are now partnering with XPand Foundation in a new venture WithOneBean.org.au which means that ALL profits from roasting and packaging the Timor coffee are returned to reforestation and educational projects in Timor.
10. They work hard to make it a fair deal for customers as well as the producers, which means our customers – you – are also getting some of the cheapest fairtrade prices, because they keep costs low and use volunteers wherever possible. Where possible Tradewinds cut out the “middle men” and develop direct partnerships.
When Tradewinds started, forty-odd years ago, ‘fair trade’ just meant trade, done fairly. A better way to get the cuppa into the cup. A way that would help tea producers earn a decent living– simply because that seemed the fair thing to do. Of course, since then, the world’s changed a bit. Life got faster, bigger, more tangled. As fair trade hit the big time, fairness itself remained elusive. That’s why at Tradewinds they like to keep things simple.
Labels and logos are all very well, but they are far more interested in the facts:
- They put people before profits. They know the producer partners by name (hi Gnana and Evang!) and give them the responsibility and opportunity to create a life they want. They respect their choices as if they were their own.
- They think laterally about business. If there’s a better way to pay producers or structure agreements, they’ll give it a go. The way they see it, trade is a means, not an end.
- They are ambitious about the impact they can have – and so are we at Recycled Interiors, which is why we are committed to supporting Tradewinds. They commit to communities for the long haul, measuring success in terms of social change, not shipments.
Because as far as we’re concerned, when it comes to trade, ‘fair’ is not ‘fair enough’. Fair is the start of something even better.
You can purchase the entire retail range of fairtrade tea and coffee on our store now – why not stock up and invite a friend for tea!