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Cafédirect PLC
Industry Fairtrade beverages
Founded 1991
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
John Steel (CEO), Jeff Halliwell (Chairman)
Products Coffee, Tea, Cocoa

Cafédirect is a UK-based alternative trading organization.[1] Cafédirect was founded in 1991 by Oxfam,[2] Traidcraft, Equal Exchange Trading and Twin Trading[3][4] as a response to the 1989 global collapse in coffee prices. It "aims to give coffee bean, cocoa and tea growers a larger slice of the purchase price for the products."[2]

CaféDirect was the first coffee brand to carry the Fairtrade certification mark.[5][6] The company reinvests about 60pc of its profits into grower training and development programmes.[2][6]

In 2007, the company's market share for hot drinks equated to 34%, 32%, and 14% respectively of the UK's Fairtrade coffee, tea, and drinking chocolate markets. In the overall market, Cafedirect is the fifth largest coffee brand and seventh largest tea brand in the UK.[7]

Producer support programmes[edit]

Cafédirect has established the Gold Standard, a guarantee to pay above the world market price for coffee, and to support the development of producers.[3] Between 2004 and 2009, Cafédirect paid more than £7.5 million above the market price to growers (including Fairtrade premiums), invested over £3 million in tailor-made programmes to strengthen growers’ businesses, which represents more than 50% of the company's profits and in total, paid more than £10.5 million towards the businesses and communities of their grower partners.[7]

In addition to paying a fair price to growers in developing countries, the company donates a percentage of its profits to producers for activities such as market information and management training. Its Producer Partnership Programme (PPP) "was set up in 1996 and goes above and beyond Fairtrade criteria".[6] In 2007, the company invested £600,000 in PPP and these investments attracted, without additional cost to the company, matched funds of £700,000, meaning growers benefited from a total investment of £1.3 million.[7]

In 2007, the organization launched amongst other things:

  • Initiated a three-year public private partnership with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) to support small farmers in analysing the threats of climate change to their specific environments and identifying viable adaptation strategies
  • Supported its 162,007 African grower partners in developing community-led and cooperative-specific environmental initiatives to increase energy efficiency and reduce deforestation
  • Worked directly with tea growers to introduce an improved pricing structure to provide additional support when market prices drop. As a result, the company increased its minimum price by 8%, and, including the Fairtrade premium, paid on average 47% over and above market prices

Since then it has begun projects, such as the 'Reforestation Sierra Piura' project, which enabled coffee growers to join forces with subsistence communities nearby to overcome issues faced by climate change and provided a sustainable existence via carbon credit schemes. This was the first such project where carbon credits were wholly owned by the communities at origin.[8]


  • 2007: In a survey of 2,000 global brands Cafedirect ranks No. 1 as the most recommended brand[9]
  • 2007: Cafédirect's Machu Picchu coffee beans were awarded a Gold Star in the 2007 Great Taste Awards, from the Guild of Fine Food.[citation needed]
  • 2008–2011: Cafédirect's products won 15 Gold Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Food.[10]
  • 2008: Cafédirect's Machu Picchu ground and wholebean coffees both won Soil Association Awards.[citation needed]
  • 2008: Teadirect topped New Consumer Magazine's Fairtrade Tea category[11]
  • 2009: Anne MacCaig, the (now former) Chief Executive of Cafédirect won the Triodos Bank Women in Ethical Business Awards, Ethical Business of the Year.[citation needed]
  • 2010: Cafédirect won the ‘Sustainable Procurement’ category at the Sustainable City Awards, hosted by the City of London, and were runners up in the ‘Sustainable Finance’ category[citation needed]
  • 2011: Cafédirect won the Social Impact award at the 2011 Guardian Sustainable Business Awards for its Producer Partnership Programme (PPP)[6]
  • 2013: Cafédirect won 'Best Ethical Brand' in the Good Housekeeping Food Awards and its Decaf Roast & Ground coffee won a Great Taste Award. Its Foodservice Decaf Espresso blend won a '3 Star' award.[12]


  1. ^ Bland, Jonathan (16 November 2006). "What is a social enterprise?". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Mulligan, John (9 February 2008). "Cafedirect brews up €6m sales". Irish Independent. Dublin. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Jones, Helen (12 November 1995). "Charity coffee aims for a richer blend". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Lepper, Ian (1 August 1996). "Obituary: Lorna Young". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  5. ^ Confino, Jo (19 March 2013). "Café Direct seeks to push the frontiers of the Fairtrade movement". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Thorpe, Lorna (26 May 2011). "Cafédirect - still redefining fair trade". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Cafedirect. "Cafedirect: Onward and upward: Increased profitability and social impact, new chief executive for Cafedirect; Strong Numbers in a Challenging Year". Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Millward Brown, March 2007
  10. ^ "Cafédirect wins sustainability award for its Producer Partnership Programme". The Caterer. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  11. ^ New Consumer Magazine, February 2008
  12. ^

External links[edit]