Labour Relations Of Coffee, In Brazil

1767 words - 7 pages

Brazil is known for having a very large biodiversity and having a huge portion of the Amazonian forest in its land. Yet, because of globalization, this country suffers a great deal environmentally wise and socially also. Both adults and children have to work in order to be able to survive. Many of these workers are exploited and changing this reality is quit hard. It all comes down to profits at the end: exploiting workers is cheaper than paying them properly. At least, there are some people who are actually putting some effort on solving this problem. This is where the issue involving coffee in Brazil comes in. The actors involved in this product are either greatly benefited or exploited and the working conditions for the farmers are quit terrible. However, there are solutions that were proposed in order to protect the coffee growers such as fair trade. It is then understood that coffee production in Brazil has negative effects on coffee laborers, but to a lesser extent on those who work in the fair trade business.

The Actors
First of all, when it comes down to the actors, we mainly see three: The industries, the government and the farmers. There are many industries that buy their coffee beans from Brazil. It goes from small companies to big corporations like Nestle, Starbucks, Kraft, Sara Lee, Tim Hortons, etc. The big corporations always try to project an image of how nice they are to the producers by showing pictures of happy farmers. They try so hard to seem like they’re doing the right thing, yet, in reality, it’s the complete opposite. A good example of the issue would be to look at Nescafe, which is one of the branches owned by Nestle. According to a website called Forbes, Nescafe ranks number 27 in the world’s most valuable brands with a brand value of 17.7 billion dollars (http://www.forbes.com/companies/nescafe/, November 2013). On the other hand, Nestle has no fair trade policy (term will be explained later on) in order to protect the coffee growers. They sell cheap coffee to people (lower quality) to insure that they gain the most profits. (http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=240#farmers, 2003) The government will mainly focus on how much money do they get out of this business in order to keep the business rolling since the coffee industry occupies the biggest sector in the Brazilian economy. Billions of dollars will be invested just to assure that nothing will harm this sector. Two main consequences can be seen from this act. The first one being the drop of coffee’s price in the market. By supplying the coffee laborers to produce tons of coffee, the government is, ultimately, oversupplying the market. The second consequence is the fact that the government might be a bit lenient with the corporations in order to keep the latter happy. In the end, those who suffer the most are the coffee laborers. According to Oxfam, an international confederation whose mission is to try to solve the...

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