The origins of Equal Exchange stretch back to 1979 when three voluntary workers returned to Edinburgh after working on aid projects in various parts of Africa. Along with a sister organisation in London, Campaign Co-op, they started buying instant coffee from Bukoba on Lake Victoria in Tanzania. As a result Campaign Coffee was born.
The volunteers had seen how small scale farmers were getting into debt due, in part, to the appallingly low prices they received for their products. Aid was not the only answer – direct, fairer trading could help redress the balance!
Many years later, after bigger campaigns, more education and better products finally reaching independent retailers and supermarkets, the three volunteers’ dreams are beginning to be realised.
Equal Exchange Fairtrade is an honest and equal exchange. You get the world's finest organic and Fairtrade products, the farmer gets a better life. Simple really.
We are dedicated to the promotion of Fairtrade and Organic production methods, ensuring a fair deal for farmers and the environment.
The ethics (and politics) of food are not simple. Organic principles are sometimes at odds with the immediate needs of farmers whose livelihoods — and even survival — depend on their ability to sell crops on a competitive world market.
The alternative trade movement is about creating a set of conditions in which producers of all kinds of products can earn a fair reward for their labour, in an environmentally sustainable, ecologically sensitive way.
Organic production and Fairtrade do not distort global free markets, but add value to existing commodities, enabling suppliers and retailers to compete with the global mega-producers on their own terms.
Equal Exchange is a workers co-operative
A workers co-operative is a company that is owned & controlled by its employees. Each employee member has an equal share in the ownership of the company and we operate within a shared common value system. Like all co-operatives we subscribe to seven founding principles that are:
Voluntary & open membership
Democratic member control
Member economic participation
Autonomy & independence
Education training & information
Co-operation amongst co-operatives
Concern for the community
Click here to see all Equal Exchange products available from Real Foods.
All photography shown with kind permission from Equal Exchange