corporate responsibility fair trade food

AMT – Leading where others choose not to follow.

//” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. After happening across AMT coffee i couldn’t help but wonder and speculate as to how and why they chose to support Fair-trade so strongly. Surely there are hidden costs to doing this. What sacrifices did they have to make to achieve this? Why did they choose to do this while all other companies hold back? What spurred them on? What advice would they give to other coffee companies when the issue of fair-trade rises? Well i thought I’d write to them and ask and this was their reply.

Dear Mr Williams

Thank you for taking the time to contact AMT Coffee. I have read your email with great interest and hope my comments below are useful to you.

The simple answer to your question regarding our use of Fairtrade coffee is that we swallow the extra cost but we make our reasonable profit from selling top quality, ethical coffee quickly and at affordable prices.

The larger ‘trend setting’ coffee companies have absolutely no excuses for not being more ethical. Their buying power alone allows them to purchase the raw products at far better prices than companies our size, even after they add the Fairtrade premium. In our opinion, they are more interested pure profit and global domination than in ethics.

Nevertheless, products don’t sell if customers don’t buy them so, what we would suggest as a first step is to ask them to switch – just like we did when our customers asked us. If they don’t show any interest – then try again. If thereafter, they are coming back with unacceptable excuses, then see if there is a journalist or paper that would point out the importance of ethical coffee, and one that would mention the coffee giants that haven’t done anything about it. A good example of how powerful this approach can be is what happened to McDonalds when the health program broke – look how quickly they changed their ways and moved to a healthier menu after just one programme. This is something that all retailers are well aware of.

Please let us know if we can be of further help.

Kind regards

Alistair McCallum-Toppin
Managing Director

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If they can do it, why can’t everyone else? There simply isn’t any excuse anymore. Fair-trade is sold in supermarkets and AMT is living, succeeding proof that selling all fair-trade can pay off. Swallowing the sacrifices for others and taking a stand. There is no longer any reason why companies shouldn’t be on the front lines on this one. Its not just companies however. We too have a part to play. Lets not be content watching the show from the window. Lets get involved, lets demand fair-trade. Join me in writing to coffee companies asking for more fair-trade options. Phil Whittal has written to tesco on the matter. Click here for his letter and reply.

AMT is leading the charge and its up to us to support them. Coffee drinkers of the world unite.


  1. Paul,
    I totally agree that it is for each person and organization to make their stand and support Fair Trade.
    Given the (usually) great quality of Fair Trade products, I’m not sure there is even a sacrifice to be made…….reducing the number of people in the chain means that the producer can be paid a fair price without the end price to the consumer being increased significantly, if at all.

    The power for change ultimately lives with consumers – if they demand Fair Trade products then the retailers will follow.

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