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Black Gold urges coffee drinkers to ask a simple question...

Black Gold

Story by Jack Foley

TO celebrate the release of Black Gold in cinemas, Marc and Nick Francis, the film’s directors, are urging everyone in the UK who might buy coffee on Friday, June 8 – whether it be in their local coffee shop or in a supermarket – to think before they drink.

By asking just one question about how much coffee farmers get paid, you could be helping to raise awareness about the truth behind your coffee cup.

National Coffee Day is supported by fair trade coffee companies and Consumers International the worldwide federation of consumer groups, including Richard Lloyd, Director General of Consumers International, who explained: “Our sustainable coffee campaign fully supports National Coffee Day.

Black Gold raises some shocking questions about what really goes into the coffee we buy. The giant coffee corporations must be held to account for their actions and consumers can help do this by asking how much of the price of their coffee actually gets back to the grower.”

Nick Francis and Marc Francis, co-directors and producers of Black Gold, added: “We wanted to make a film which forced us as western consumers to question some of our basic assumptions about our consumer lifestyle. We hope people take up the Black Gold Challenge on June 8.”

Tadesse Meskela, general manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Co-operative Union, who features in Black Gold said: “Our hope is one day the consumer will understand what they are drinking. Consumers can change things if awareness is given to them.”

By asking one question about how much coffee farmers get paid, consumers will be helping to raise awareness about the truth behind their coffee cup.

All they have to do is ask: “Is the coffee fairly traded?”

Simon Williams, the Co-operative Group’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Social Goals, believes that by using National Coffee Day to help promote the issues in Black Gold further useful steps can be made in changing attitudes towards coffee.

“We are sure National Coffee Day will help to raise awareness of the benefits of Fairtrade products and the struggle of coffee growers in the developing world.

“As the first major UK supermarket to sell Fairtrade coffee, we are passionate about it and we are urging all our staff and members to see Black Gold.”

And he was backed by Cafédirect’s CEO, Penny Newman, who added: “I passionately believe in people power and would encourage you, the consumer, to look beyond the label and understand exactly what you are buying.

“From our experience we know you can have a delicious cup of coffee and make growers lives better by buying Fairtrade. So ask yourself the question: “How much did the coffee farmer receive for growing this coffee?” If you haven’t seen the film, go and see it.”

100% Fairtrade coffee companies AMT Coffee and Cafédirect are supporting National Coffee Day. If you go to AMT Coffee with your Black Gold cinema ticket from June 8 you will get 50% off your coffee.

Black Gold intends to open people’s eyes to the coffee trade and guarantee that they’ll never look at their latte or cappuccino in the same way again.

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks worldwide and in the UK alone 80% of people are drinking coffee weekly – but very few people are probably aware of the real story behind their morning jolt of coffee…

Black Gold follows the mission of one man – Tadesse Meskela – General Manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union, as he battles to save his 74,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy.

As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price.

Directed by British film makers – Nick and Marc Francis – Black Gold has already sent shockwaves through the global coffee industry, prompting leading coffee companies to mount their own charm offensives.

Read our review of the movie