Action for all you latte socialists!

More than a year ago, the Ethiopian government approached Starbucks global HQ in Seattle and asked the company to recognise Ethiopia’s legal ownership of the names of its coffees. By owning the rights to its fine coffee names, Ethiopia can help its farmers negotiate a better price, potentially increasing income for the country’s coffee industry by an estimated $88 million a year. This would help lift millions of farmers and their families out of poverty, helping them to send their children to school and access healthcare.

  • FACT: 15 million Ethiopians are dependent on coffee, and whilst they grow some of the world’s finest beans, they don’t see the rich profits.

Despite its much-publicised commitments to farming communities, Starbucks has not taken the Ethiopian request seriously. It’s time for Starbucks to take a lead and recognise Ethiopia’s right to the legal ownership of its own coffee names.

Take action and read more at the Oxfam NZ website

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3 responses to “Action for all you latte socialists!

  1. Riiight – because ownership of the names Feta, Champagne, Gruyere, Gouda et al have “really” made a huge difference to the income statistics of those regions.

    What would be *far* more useful is educating people to only buy their coffee from organizations / coffee houses that actually have a commitment to pay their growers reasonable prices.

  2. That’s why I called it an action for latte socialists 😉

    To give the campaign a bit of credit, the point they are making is that while Starbucks does have a commitment to paying growers reasonable prices, it is hypocritical of them to then go and claim the rights to the names. And Oxfam are pretty good at doing what you’re suggesting.

    Personally I think noone should drink Starbucks cause it’s feckin awful.. I agree, drinking coffee from businesses that do have that commitement is the way to go. And if they’re local small businesses themselves, even better. Like that really cool guy on Johnson St in Fitzroy at the Ethiopian shop. His coffee kicks serious ass!

  3. Kakariki – I don’t think Starbucks is claiming rights to the name, they are not stopping other people from using it. What I would see that they are doing is claiming the right to call their product what it is – if they are using Sidamo beans then they want to call the beans Sidamo…

    If they were using non-Sidamo beans and calling them that name; or if they were trying to trademark the names themselves then I could see an issue.

    Again the biggest issue is allowing the growers to actually sell into the markets that consume their coffee – at the moment the people really making the money are the distributors.

    PS – Fitzroy as in just outside New Plymouth?

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