Elise Michelle Abshire


Presentation: 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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In this poster, I will be presenting research on the difference of direct and fair methods of coffee trading in light of Catholic Social Teaching. My proposition is that buying fair trade coffee beans is insufficient for respecting the inherent dignity of the human person, and direct trade must be the standard for any ethically conscious consumer. Throughout recent years, there has been an increasing ethical consciousness amongst universal consumers to buy more environmentally friendly, cage-free, and organic items. However, modern media fails to caution the ethical consumer about the importance of purchasing products that provide the greatest respect for the dignity of man, and the distinction between fair and direct trade provides insight on this issue. Fair trade was established in the 1980s as a way to ensure workers were being justly paid and living in proper conditions (Le and Janovokic, 2019). However, the issues of accountability and the middleman have been a hindrance in the effectiveness of fair trade. In contrast, direct trade means that coffee roasters are supplied directly from farmers without a middleman (Le and Janovokic, 2019). The Catholic Social Teaching principle of the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person was also examined with the consideration of Marianist Educational Values, especially education for justice. In conclusion, through knowing more about and utilizing direct trade, well-informed, ethical consumers can change lives. Finally, being informed ethical consumers should affect how we live out our daily lives on a Marianist campus, including how we source our coffee beans for our coffee shops.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Elizabeth T. Groppe, Kelly S. Johnson

Primary Advisor's Department

Religious Studies


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Responsible Consumption and Production; Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Spilling the Beans: An Ethical Analysis of Fair Trade Considering Catholic Social Teaching