Activist Faith

I admit it–I’m a Starbucks addict. I’ve discovered caffeine is a major factor that allows me to write more words per day and keep up with my three kids (who seem to still have more energy than I do without caffeine).

Yet I’d like to see my friends at Starbucks do something tangible to help celebrate Fair Trade month. They already work hard to provide Fair Trade products, but there is a specific way they could do more to highlight the cause of Fair Trade around the world.

Specifically, I’m calling for you to join me in encouraging Starbucks in the US to offer brewed Fair Trade coffee. The petition text below explain the details, but this is perhaps the one act they could do that would make a major difference.

On a side note, for those unaware of the importance of Fair Trade, realize this: Unless a product is Fair Trade certified, there is no way to guarantee your products are free from slave labor. Since I hope you, as I, do not approve of buying products made by slave labor, it is important to support Fair Trade whenever possible.

Please join the petition below to encourage change in this area. Remember, people of faith are the ones often on the sidelines who can be the difference-makers on this and other causes. The only thing stopping the change you want to see is you.

Sign here.


Dear Coffee-Drinker,

“Since 2000, consumers have been demanding that Starbucks offer brewed Fair Trade coffee as well as whole bean. Many Starbucks cafes will brew a pot of Fair Trade—but only if specifically asked. Meanwhile Fair Trade Coffee has yet to be promoted as the brewed Coffee of the Day, which is the only way to ensure real volume for Fair Trade Farmers” ( In contrast, in the UK, 100% of Starbucks’ espresso is Fair Trade Certified—this is largely due to consumer activism, by people like you and I.

Let us promote World Fair Trade Month ( this May, by leveraging our buying power, as consumers, and as coffee-drinkers. I am asking you to put the pressure on Starbucks to become truly fair trade—Go to your local Starbucks, and ask for BREWED Fair Trade coffee, throughout May. Ask Starbucks brew the Fair Trade coffee they already have (in whole bean). It is already a part of their company, and their policies…

“Despite being the second most valuable commodity in the world after oil, there is significant human trafficking and exploitation in the coffee industry. Across Central and South America and Africa, workers on large plantations are often forced to harvest and dry beans for long hours with little or no pay. Small farmers then have trouble competing with the low prices of the large growers, in part because of their use of child and exploited labor. But slavery in the coffee industry happens in the U.S., too. For example, Kaua’i Coffee, a Hawaii-based brand, was recently cited for using six enslaved Thai workers on their plantation. In other words, where coffee is grown, workers are often exploited” (

Go to your favorite Starbucks store, smile, and place an order for a cup of “Fair Trade Starbucks coffee.”

If you’re met with confusion or hesitation, remind the barista about Starbuck’s policy: that upon asking for Fair Trade coffee, they must brew a full pot. And then kindly point out their Fair Trade blends, that are already available in-store. (Look for the “Fair Trade Certified” logo on the bag).

Thanks for participating. By supporting Fair Trade, you are making a tangible and life-changing difference in lives of farmers all over the world.


Image Credit: presidentservelan from Flickr, Creative Commons License.

*Much credit for inspiration goes to Amanda K.’s petition. The petition letter has been adapted from her original petition.


Make Fair Trade Coffee Starbucks’ “Coffee Pick of the Day”


As a Starbucks customer and supporter of Fair Trade coffee, I am asking Starbucks to offer brewed Fair Trade coffee in all its U.S. stores, as Starbucks’ Coffee Pick of the Day. Starbucks has tremendous power to support and promote Fair Trade coffee, and by doing to reduce slavery, human trafficking, and exploitation in the coffee industry. Currently, Fair Trade farmers sell only a fraction of their coffee at a Fair Trade price. The rest is sold at the world price, which is often so low farmers turn to slave and child labor to compete. The only way to increase demand for Fair Trade coffee is to expose consumers to it. And for that, we need your help, Starbucks.

Since 2000, customers have been asking you to offer brewed Fair Trade coffee as well as whole bean in your stores. While many Starbucks cafes will brew a pot of Fair Trade coffee if specifically asked, that method won’t promote Fair Trade coffee or Starbucks’ delicious Fair Trade offerings. By offering Fair Trade coffee as your Pick of the Day in US Stores, you’ll be exposing customers to a Starbucks product they might not have tried and be helping end slavery and exploitation in the coffee industry. Please, make a commitment to regularly offering Fair Trade coffees as the Pick of the Day.


[Your name]

Sign here.


DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Undefending ChristianityNot in My Town (with Charles J. Powell), and Thirst No More (October). Discover more at

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus