We at Volcano are champions of ethically-traded coffee. This is distinct from, and builds on, the concept of fair trade, which is fine as far as it goes. The problem with fair trade is that it’s based on the commodity price for coffee. While fair trade pays a fractionally higher price, there’s no incentive for coffee farmers and processors to improve quality.

No matter how good their product is, the price farmers get is still based on the commodity markets.

In contrast, ethical trade actively promotes an increase in quality as a means to receiving higher prices. By committing to pay a significant margin above the fair trade price and linking it to quality, we reward farmers for a premium product. This, in turn, gives them the means to invest in their farms, resulting in further increases in quality. It’s a process of the continual improvement.

This stretches far beyond just the farmer growing the coffee. It runs through the entire production chain, as well as the wider coffee-growing community. We will only ever work with partners and importers who share our values. This means ensuring that the improvements are both sustainable and that the benefits are shared throughout the community.