As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, we’re getting up close and personal with people and businesses connected to UC who are making the world a better (and fairer) place. Read on to learn about the people behind UCSA’s fair trade coffee supplier, Common Good Coffee – who are bringing us much more than just good coffee!
So what makes Common Good Coffee so special?
On top of a banging roast and a 100% commitment to a fair trade supply chain, Common Good Coffee is using its profits for good in Aotearoa and around the world. From the fair trade principles behind their coffee supply, to the roasting of that same coffee right here in Christchurch, and the reinvestment of their profits into communities around the world, Common Good Coffee is a very, very good time. And the best bit is, all you have to do be a part of their story is simply drink their coffee!
The man behind your coffee addiction: Vernon roasts (and delivers) kilos of coffee each week to UC
So, about that coffee…
The coffee you’re sipping on has come a long way before the baristas at UC (and you) got their hot little hands on it. For example, the Ethiopian Sidamo coffee bean that makes up your brew has come all the way from the Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union of Ethiopia (OCFCU).
The Layo Teraga Cooperative in Southern Ethiopia (part of the OCFCU) currently has 1200 members and has maintained Fairtrade certification since 2009. Since becoming certified, the fair trade social premium has paid for depulping equipment, two transport trucks, and in 2010 the community was able to build an elementary school. Before this, the nearest school was a two hour walk away.
Common Good Coffee also contributed directly to the building of the elementary school – last year they donated $19,000 towards teacher’s accommodation, allowing itinerant teachers to spend less time travelling and more time teaching.
Teacher’s accommodation in the Layo Teranga cooperative’s elementary school, Sidamo/Guji region, southern Ethiopia
But wait, there’s more!
He aha te mea nui o te ao
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
Before, we mentioned that Common Good Coffee reinvested their profits into communities around the world. This is where the bigger picture stuff comes in: Common Good Coffee Roasters is actually part of a wider business called Common Good, based in Kolkata, India. Common Good has since created jobs for fifteen women to make products like bags and wristbands, which are proudly worn all around the world. Better still, 100% of the profits from Common Good are going directly to services like sanitation, clean water and education – meaning not only do fifteen women have dignified and meaningful work, but their families and communities are now able to make choices that weren’t available to them before.
And finally, they get local too!
Just in case you thought they were done…
Common Good Coffee is roasted at Addington Coffee Co-op, 297 Lincoln Road (definitely worth checking out, make sure you go hungry), and in 2019 they donated $100,000 to the local Addington Primary School. The Addington Te Kura Taumatua Whanua Room was funded by Common Good to grow community connections within the school, and is used by a diverse range of people from the school community.
So, it’s more than just a cup of coffee! (but at the same time, it’s all about that cup of coffee…). And to think that every time you buy a Common Good Coffee from Cafe 1894, Chilton’s or Collective, you’re actually directly contributing to all the above goodness…. who knew making good more common would be so easy?!
Want to know more about Common Good and what they’re doing locally and globally? Come and meet them at our Clothes Swap Party on Thursday 20 August. Sip on a free Fairtrade brew and browse some second hand threads. See the Facebook event here for all the details.
This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This is part of our contribution to Fairtrade Fortnight, where we encourage our UC community to get involved and support the empowerment of producers overseas. For more information on the fair trade movement, see the Fairtrade NZ website.