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WyoWoman Starbucks under terror threat (63* d) RE: STARBUCKS UNDER TERROR THREAT 31 Jan 02

Well, I don't know if the Starbucks were actually a target for this particular gathering of the world economic poobahs, but there are some fairly good reasons for wanting to draw the world's attention to issues related to those steaming cups of coffee we all love.

The protests against Starbucks are an effort to get the coffee chain, the world's largest, to 1.) Promote fairly traded coffee, where the grower is guaranteed a minimum price; 2.) Use dairy products that do not contain bovine growth hormone and 3.) Refuse to use food created from genetically modified organisms.

Coffee has become the battleground because it typifies the exploitation of local cultures and agricultural workers to satisfy the luxury tastes of the industrialized world.

Fair Trade connects producers and consumers in an equitable, sustainable and meaningful way. Its principles include fair wages through the elimination of middlemen, cooperative workplaces run by small businesses and farmers, consumer education to raise awareness of the importance of being a caring consumer, and environmental sustainability to help farmers manage the local resources in a responsible manner.

Starbucks is the target for the protests because they are a high-visibility international corporation and because they have promoted themselves as being socially responsible, which many of the protest organizations characterize as a cynical attempt to "green-wash" a corporation that exploits peasant workers and farmers, and that accepts agricultural methods that destroy the environment and the local economies.

Starbucks did add Fair Trade coffee as a pre-emptive move in anticipation of the protests against it during the WTO in 1999, but it hasn't promoted the Fair Trade coffee at all and many believe it just slapped the coffee on its shelves to deflect criticism. The company also says that none of its European stores use genetically modified ingredients, and that in the United States the company offers an organic-milk alternative to ordinary milk.

Proving once again that consumers have a big responsibility to educate themselves and to request these products so the companies know we give a shit and that we notice who offers options and who doesn't.

Here's some more information: Coffee info


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