Green Washing and the Coffee Industry

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Green Washing and the Coffee Industry

Table of Contents

History of the coffee industry ……………………………………………………...3 Introduction of green washing in the coffee industry …………….………………..4 Ethical and unethical aspects of green washing in the coffee industry ………….....7 Starbucks company …………………………………...…………………….….… 11 Conclusion …………………………………………………..……………...…….. 13 References………………………………………………………………………… 16

History of the coffee industry
Many may ask themselves, what is a day without coffee? This question is so relevant in our society especially in America where more than 400 million cups of coffee are consumed everyday (Coffee statistics, 2011). Not only is coffee the second largest traded commodity, after petroleum in dollar terms, but the coffee industry has also grown to be a multi-billion dollar industry (Pentergrast, 2009).

The coffee industry originated from the Arabian legend that spoke of a goat herder in ancient times. This goat herders name was Kaldi and he watched his goats eating berries, which seemed to have magical properties. After observing his goats he noticed they gained more energy from these berries, so he wanted to test it himself. Just like his goats, he experienced an increase in energy and alertness too. The news of this ‘magical’ berry spread throughout Africa, Ethiopia specifically, to numerous individuals who had a great interest in the magic of these berries (Coffee history, 2006).

As the word spread of this ‘magical’ berry and many more people knew about it, the berry spread too. It travelled from Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, to Turkey, which led to an improvement and increase in its consumption. The Turkish people discovered that if they roasted the berries, followed by boiling them in water, a dark liquid was created (Coffee history, 2006). Today this dark liquid is known as coffee.

Many changes occurred over time in the way that coffee was roasted and flavored. Once these new innovations began, European countries became more interested. The Europeans became experts in roasting coffee. Many new coffee shops were started in Europe and across the world (Europe catches the buzz, 2009). In the 1700’scoffee was introduced to the American market. Coffee found its way travelling from the Caribbean Island of Martinique to North America and then eventually South and Central America (The history of coffee, 2008).

In terms of today, the word popular cannot even describe how relevant coffee is, especially in North America society. More than “250 cups of espresso and coffee drinks are sold per day” (Coffee statistics, 2011) in America. There are millions of coffee shops around the world, tones of options for coffee choices and a large amount of people employed in the industry. Coffee is very much a cultural and lifestyle based beverage and continues to become even more popular. Whenever popularity is evident, ethical concerns come into consideration as well. This is where the relevance of green washing comes into discussion. Introduction of green washing in the coffee industry

The term green washing is typically viewed as being negative and essentially “a superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization” (Green wash, 2011). In the coffee industry many questions have been posed in regards to the validity of green practices. The need for coffee companies to implement green initiatives is crucial for their survival. With this being said, many of them often green wash instead of actually following industry standards. This is because they often cannot see future savings because of the high initial implementation costs.

For the coffee industry ‘Green-washing’ and multiple green initiatives have become a very popular trend, some of these movements include the introduction of Fair Trade Coffee. According to the Fair Trade Association, fair trade can be defined as “a trading partnership that seeks greater...
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