Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Environmental Program

Keywords

coffee, certification, consumers, fair trade, organic

Abstract

Coffee certifications are one of the most prominent ways for consumers to influence environmental and labor practices in producing countries. However, their effectiveness has been seen by some as limited. Going forward, it is important to focus on certifications that are both effective in both producing countries as well as consuming countries. This study sought to determine the level of investment that consumers in Burlington, Vermont have on Fair Trade and USDA Organic certifications, and to assess their knowledge of these two labeling systems. To do this I used a close-ended survey executed through a random sampling approach. Generally, there was a strong positive correlation between the reported value of a certification and consumer knowledge of that certification, although knowledge and reported value were both fairly low. It is possible that more educational campaigns around these two certifications would boost sales, but given the rather contentious nature of certifications today it is unclear that more information will increase consumer buy-in.

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