Being Clear on Transparency

By Angela Magnusson, Commercial Relations Manager, Fairtrade America

“At its core, transparency is the free and open access to knowledge, which implies that information flows all ways.”

coffee-producer

A Fairtrade-certified coffee producer based in Barillas, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Credit: Sean Hawkey, Fairtrade International

In today’s digital age, instantaneous and open sharing of information no longer dazzles us. Transparency, from the perspective of the US consumer, has increasingly become an expectation and not just a ‘nice-to-have.’

According to “Transparency 2015, Establishing Trust with Consumers,” a recent study from the Hartman Group, while general familiarity with the term “sustainability” continues to grow and shape purchases in the U.S., transparency is emerging as a new buying ideal. This trend represents more than the simple economic exchange people have with companies, but a fundamental shift in the relationship we have with the world and others around us.

More companies are sharing the stories of their products and becoming more adept at communicating just what it is this new generation of customers want to know. But to what end does transparency serve farmers and their families? How can transparency in the other direction – with farmers and cooperatives – provide the groundwork for long-term trust and sustainability in the coffee industry?

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