Is Buying Coffee Ethical Or Not?

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Is Buying Coffee Ethical Or Not?

When we go to a local coffee shop or buying from online coffee retailers, and we get our favourite caffeinated drink, we often do not think about the ethics of doing so. In fact, the topic of coffee, in relation to ethics in general, is not a topic that is often heard at the tables with people drinking their favourite brew. However, there is a reason that you may want to consider the ethics behind the purchase of the coffee that you are drinking. It has more to do with the sale of the coffee as opposed to what it is able to do for you on a daily basis. Let’s discuss whether or not buying coffee is ethical, and come to a conclusion as to whether ethics, in general, have anything to do with the purchase of your favourite cup of Joe.

What Does It Mean To Be Ethical?

The topic of ethics has been discussed by people for centuries. Well-known philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and even the more contemporary Immanuel Kant wrote on this topic. It’s also a class that you can take in college, one that discusses moral principles, and how these principles help us determine whether our behaviour represents a good or bad activity. So what does this have to do with coffee? It begins with how coffee is grown, and subsequently how it is sold.

Is It Ethical To Grow Coffee?

Let’s start with the concept of whether or not growing coffee is an ethical decision. This topic will come up when discussing environmental factors. For example, some of the best locations for growing coffee are places like Hawaii, Costa Rica, and many other locations where there are diverse and delicate rain forests. In some cases, there are trees that are removed from these areas, creating an ethical discussion as to whether the growth of coffee is more important than protecting the forests. In addition to this, herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers are used which can seep into the aquifers in the ground. From the standpoint of ethics or even common sense, this is detrimental to the environment and the people that will drink the water. Therefore, there are some ethical concerns in regard to the growth of coffee, but even more when it comes to the sale of this very popular product.

Is It Ethical To Sell Coffee?

Ethics that revolve around the sale of coffee often come up when talking about the workers that are picking the beans. Some of them are underpaid, overworked, and they get none of the credit when it comes to the popularity of this beverage. In addition to this, the workers are exposed to those same pesticides and herbicides that are used to protect the coffee beans so that they can be harvested and prepared for sale. The sale of coffee can become an ethical discussion when you are looking at the people that harvest the beans and their exposure to these chemically based products.

Is There A Way To Ethically By Coffee?

The best way to purchase coffee that will be ethical is to obtain only coffee that is certified organic. This means that the workers will not be exposed to pesticides, fungicides, and all of the other products that are typically used to protect the beans. It is also ethical, from the standpoint of the environment, because they are often grown in areas which do not contribute to the destruction of any type of rainforest. Finally, since these chemicals are not used in the growth of coffee, it does not contaminate the environment or the aquifers that will supply water to people now and in the future. By simply purchasing coffee beans that are grown in this manner, or by getting coffee from coffee shops that use organically grown coffee beans, the sale of coffee becomes much more ethical.

The discussion of ethics in regard to coffee is not one that many people have. They are simply concerned with getting there but is on their favourite caffeinated drink. However, it sometimes good to consider the origins of the products that we use and consider whether or not it is ethical. Although this discussion will not affect the habits of most people that drink coffee on a daily basis, it’s good to know that there are businesses out there that are growing, harvesting, and selling coffee beans in the most ethical way possible.