For many of us, February is a month filled with love…and chocolate. This month, we highlight social justice activist and top Equal Exchange supporter Susan Domey-Allen of UCC Norwell in Massachusetts. Susan recently shared their fair trade story and a variety of ways to reach out to others to ensure sure that purchases of chocolate don’t contribute to slave labor, human trafficking and injustice for cacao producers.
Susan says, ” The United Church of Christ (UCC) Norwell has been active in supporting Equal Exchange since when I joined the church back in 2007. We adopted a Fair Trade program within our Mission & Outreach ministry team and dove in feet first by attending advocacy trainings by Equal Exchange. We then volunteered to staff booths at local UCC meetings and functions locally and within New England.
We have gone from having sales roughly twice a year to sales every month and bringing in an average of $350.00 to $400.00/month. We have named our program the “Fairly Traded Initiative” and are now also getting more involved in community outreach. Volunteers have presented adult education forums within our own congregation, in other churches, and in forums while partnering with the UCC Norwell Human Trafficking Awareness Ministry Team. Here we explain the role of Fair Trade in association with human trafficking victims and survivors (both labor and sexual trafficking).
In the one-minute video, Susan explains how she educates her community about slave labor in the chocolate industry:
In 2016 the Fairly Traded Initiative started being a regular vendor at “Super Saturday’s” sponsored by the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. In October of 2018 we presented a workshop entitled Fair Trade: God’s call to Consciousness–Shopping is Mission where the emphasis was on chocolate and educating on what “fair trade” products are.
To expand our community outreach and collaborate with other local churches, the Fairly Traded Initiative organized a Fair Trade / Local Artisans’ Market in the fall of 2017. That year we had 14 vendors representing a variety of global programs many of which represented some form of “fair trade.” In 2018 our second market had 20 vendors and received a full page write up in the local newspaper giving each vendor recognition. Well over 300 patrons attended. In 2019 we partnered with the South Shore Interfaith Coalition Against Human Trafficking to organize our 3rd Market. We had a variety of vendors, it was well attended, and our goal now is to have other churches or venues host the event.
2019 was a year of growth and expansion for the Fairly Traded Initiative. We had booming sales when we partnered with our Human Trafficking Coalition on the day of their forum in church. In February we wrote heart felt cards of gratitude to small farmers as well as highlighting NO child slave labor chocolates.
In March I attended the Fair Trade Campaigns National Conference in Chicago where I represented my church and my passion and commitment to Equal Exchange and justice. For July we partnered with New North Church in Hingham, MA to host a summer Fair Trade cheese & chocolate / organic wine & craft beer tasting. In October we worked with the Quincy Fair Trade Task Force to put on a Fair Trade Market at the UCC Wollaston Church and in November we hosted our own.
The Fairly Traded Initiative is taking a leap in 2020 to expand our outreach to the social media market and involve the global network. UCC Norwell has had a relationship with ASAPROSAR ( Salvadoran Association for Rural Health) a non-governmental health organization in western El Salvador for over 30 years. Our August delegation (which I have been a part of since 2009) spends time in the rural communities with the poorest people. Last year I spent time with many artisans who have utilized the Micro-credit program of ASAPROSAR to develop businesses. Today it is difficult to find a market for their products and they have no means to export them on there own. We are very excited to offer them this opportunity for global market partnership through an E-commerce website. This project would never have been possible if not for my long term collaboration with Equal Exchange and all of the people that I have met on this journey of “fair trade” advocacy.
UCC Norwell is proud to support Equal Exchange and be an active voice and advocate in the drive for justice along the food chain.”
Susan and her team are true activists and superstars in our eyes and we at Equal Exchange are proud to keep cheering them on!
Give your Valentine chocolate that skips all the bad stuff! Here’s what to look for:
There’s slave labor in the chocolate industry in 2020?
It may surprise you to find out that slavery and child labor can still be found in the supply chains of major chocolate companies. Cacao (the agricultural product from which chocolate is made) is traded on the global commodity market. The price has dropped abruptly in recent years. But consumer demand for chocolate — especially inexpensive chocolate — has not. When companies are paying less for the same amount of product, that creates a real problem for farm workers. Journalists who cover the chocolate industry have documented labor abuses, including child labor and forced labor. It’s especially prevalent in West Africa, where much of the world’s cacao is grown.
According to a June 2019 article in the Washington Post Hershey, Nestle and Mars could not guarantee that any of their chocolate was produced without child labor. Maybe you want to rethink giving that heart-shaped box of chocolates to say “I love you”?
How do you know if your chocolate has been produced without slave labor?
Most major corporations don’t advertise where their chocolate comes from and if the cacao farmers were paid fairly. In fact, we don’t hear them talking about it at all! So if you’re buying from one of the big guys, it’s not easy to answer that question.
We’re different. Equal Exchange works directly with small-scale farmer cooperatives in Peru, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Togo as part of long-term, fair trading partnerships. Equal Exchange’s products meet the strict standards established by the Fair Trade Federation. This includes no child labor or slavery. We’ve visited many of our farmer partners in person. We’ve met their families and know their names. We’re proud to connect you and your Valentine with their stories and their high-quality, organic cacao.
What is that again?
Soy lecithin is an emulsifier made from phospholipids and oil derived from soybeans. Many chocolate bars contain soy lecithin because it lowers chocolate’s viscosity and extends the shelf life. Soy lecithin is inexpensive. It’s a byproduct that’s left over after soybean oil is manufactured. Using soy lecithin speeds up the chocolate-making process. That makes it cheaper to produce.
Which chocolate doesn’t have soy lecithin?
ALL of Equal Exchange’s chocolates are free from soy lecithin. Instead of using emulsifiers or fillers, we conch our chocolate the old-fashioned way. We don’t skimp on high quality, organic and fairly traded cocoa butter to make delicious, soy-free chocolate. Your Valentine deserves the best!
How much sugar is there in some chocolate bars?
We know that consuming a lot of sugar isn’t in our best interest, health-wise. Did you know that a 1.4oz size chocolate bar from a popular brand that rhymes with “Glove” has 22g of sugar per serving? Give your Valentine a treat that isn’t a sugar-bomb.
What kind of chocolate is a good choice for someone who wants lower sugar but great flavor?
You can give Valentine chocolate that’s decadent but doesn’t contain mountains of sugar. Equal Exchange’s best-selling Organic Panama 80% Dark Chocolate Bar has 8g of sugar per 12 piece serving (1.4oz, or half of an Equal Exchange chocolate bar). And sugar isn’t the first ingredient on the label. One reviewer describes it as “velvety smooth, not overly sweet but rich and satisfying.” Another says the bar has a “very creamy texture and full-body taste for a very dark chocolate bar.” Other Equal Exchange chocolate bar choices that are lower in sugar include our 71% Organic Very Dark Chocolate (11g of sugar per 12 piece serving), 88% Organic Extreme Dark Chocolate (4g of sugar per 12 piece serving) and our 92% Organic Total Eclipse Dark Chocolate bar (3g of sugar per 12 piece serving). You can find the ingredients and nutritional information on each of our chocolate bars online, Just click on the product and scroll down past the pricing information.
We have a feeling your Valentine will be a different S-word – “satisfied” with the thoughtful and delicious chocolate you’ve chosen for them!
Do you really need another reason to include more chocolate in your life? Hosting a chocolate sale can help you earn money for your group while offering decadent, organic chocolate bars. In addition to making people very happy, you’ll also be raising awareness about the importance of choosing ethical, slave-labor-free chocolate. You’re only 5 steps away from a successful chocolate sale!
Chocolate is certainly a welcome offering any time of year, although we find that it works well to time your sale around chocolate-centric holidays where people are looking yummy treats and gifts. We recommend planning a chocolate sale near Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter or Passover, Halloween, World Fair Trade Day (May 9th), or during Fair Trade Month (October). Pick a day you know a lot of people will be around. Once you have the date set, it’s time to let people know. To help you promote we’ve created posters, social media graphics and an e-newsletter template.
List what payment methods you’ll accept so people will come with cash if that’s what you’re accepting. Here are some additional graphics that you can use to create your own promotional materials. You can further educate potential buyers about how Equal Exchange’s fair trade chocolate supply chain is different than most by sharing this infographic on social media.
Setting your sale date will also let you know when you need to order from Equal Exchange to receive your chocolate in time. We recommend leaving at least 10 business days between the time you order and when you want your shipment to arrive.
Offer a variety that will cater to chocolate fans of different tastes.
For the dark chocolate lovers: Panama 80% Extra Dark Chocolate, Very Dark 71% Chocolate. Dark Hot Chocolate Mix
For those with a sweet-tooth: Dark Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt, Coconut Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate. Milk Chocolate with Caramel Crunch and Sea Salt, Hot Cocoa Mix
For those with adventurous tastes: Dark Chocolate Lemon, Ginger and Pepper, Spicy Hot Cocoa Mix, Extreme Dark 88% Chocolate, Total Eclipse 92% Dark Chocolate, Coconut Milk Chocolate
Classic chocolate choices: Dark Chocolate with Almond, Dark Chocolate with Mint Crunch, Dark Chocolate with Orange, Hot cocoa mix
If you want to sell bite-sized dark chocolate minis, buy them in bulk and sell them for $0.25-$0.50 each. We even sell a chocolate mini packaging kit to make 35 small bags of minis that you can sell as a bundle.
Here’s our full wholesale product list so you can see all of the options.
Order online or call the order into our Customer Service Team at 774-776-7366 9-5 Eastern, Monday-Friday. The case unit of measure gets you 12 chocolate bars for $29.60 and cases of 6 cocoa canisters for $32. A vertical display rack is something to consider to neatly show your offering if you have a lot of chocolate to sell.
Because chocolate is a consumable product we’re unable to sell on consignment for safety and quality reasons. Purchase only what you are confident you can sell through before the best-by dates.
Choose some add-ons to liven up your display like posters, chocolate pamphlets, a sale poster and Power to the Farmer stickers.
View additional downloadable educational resources here.
When you buy by the case, each individual chocolate bar costs you $2.47. But you can charge $3, $4 or even $5 a bar depending on your fundraising goals. If you’re not looking to raise any funds but just cover the cost of advertising materials and samples, charging $5 for two bars makes the bars affordable for many people. You can even pre-bundle a variety of five different bars and sell them for a reasonable $15.
If you’re hoping to fundraise and reach a specific goal, here are some guidelines:
By selling each bar for $3, you’ll profit $0.53 per bar ($6.36 per case of 12). If you charge $4 a bar, you’ll earn $1.53 for each bar sold ($18.36 per case of 12).
Cocoas are $5.33 each when purchased by the case, so charging $7 is a fair price that leaves you a modest profit of $10 per 6 canisters sold.
Calculate how many cases you’ll need to sell to reach your fundraising goal.
Then use this handy product and price list template to input your specific sale items and the coordinating prices.
Based on your mark-up, you can figure out how many bars you can spare for sampling and still make your profit goal. When people sample something, they’re more likely to want to buy it! Put out tongs and a plate of bite sized pieces for people to try. Place the bars for sale right by the sample so people can find everything easily. Consider posting allergen information near the sample (ie, contains nuts, dairy, etc) for safety. Many of our chocolate bars are vegan, and all are gluten-free and soy-free.
Sampling will help you in another way — you’ll have conversations about what people like best and you’ll know what to order next time!
Set up a hot cocoa bar and sell customizable cups of cocoa
Host a chocolate and coffee pairing event
Give an educational presentation (<— under Video and PowerPoint) on how cacao is grown and why fair trade chocolate matters
Organize a chocolate tasting and end it with a chocolate sale
Because the products aren’t sold on consignment, you want to figure out how many cases of each product to order for your sale. If you’re wondering about kind of quantities to order for your crowd size, here are some recommendations>>
To see all of our product options, view our full wholesale case pricelist
Shop online or call your order in to our Customer Service team at 774-776-7366 M-F 9-5 EST. We recommend leaving 10 business days for your order to arrive, but check with our team for a personalized shipping estimate. We also offer expedited shipping if you’d like to have things arrive more quickly.
Use a festive tablecloth and a string of lights to make it eye-catching. A colorful sales table and a smiling person behind it say “come on over!”. Organize products neatly and re-purpose empty shipping boxes turned upside down under a tablecloth to create extra vertical space to showcase products. Order our table signs and posters to share information. You might even want to offer samples of Equal Exchange coffee, tea or bite-sized chocolate pieces to entice shoppers.
You can raise funds for special projects, trips or activities by marking up your products 25% to 40% of your wholesale unit cost. Round up to the nearest dollar to help cover your costs and make giving change easier. Examples of reasonable prices are: $8 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa. Remember to tell folks what you’re raising money for — they’ll love being able to gift shop and help your cause!
If fundraising isn’t your goal, charging your unit cost with just a small mark-up (round up to the next dollar to avoid handling change) is a great way to make fair trade products accessible to many people. You can sell multiple items at reduced prices to help encourage more sales, like 2 chocolate bars for $5 or 3 bags of coffee for $20.
After you decide what you want to charge, use our handy price list template to list items and prices to post at your sale table.
You know that fair trade is important for our global community, and now is a great time to tell shoppers why it matters. Edit these Customizable bulletin inserts and e-bulletins/newsletters to promote your sale at services or in an email blast.
Try this example wording: “Give gifts that give more! Join us for our Fair Trade Sale [insert date, time and location] Equal Exchange products are sourced from small-scale coffee, tea, cocoa and olive oil farmer co-operatives worldwide and profits from our sale go towards [insert your group, committee or reason for the sale here]. Through fair trade, farmers are better able to support their families, protect the environment and strengthen their communities.”
Create a poster announcing the sale and use these colorful mission posters by your sale table to drive the points home!
If you use social media to promote and are planning the sale to be a fundraiser, you might find these social media graphics helpful!
Who are your favorite foodies? Gift them with some of our newest products from the Middle East. They’re not easily found in the US and they support small-scale Palestinian farmers. Succulent Medjool dates, hearty couscous (maftoul) and smokey freekeh (along with recipes showing how to use them) make memorable, quality presents!
If you’d prefer to give a gift that’s boxed already, we also have a Palestinian Farmers’ Box that comes with 4 products from the West Bank.
Know people who like to bake? Imagine giving them “Bakers’ Baskets” filled with organic pantry staples like Equal Exchange baking cocoa, bittersweet chocolate chips and virgin olive oil. Purchased by the case, those 3 products would be less than $22 per gift! Maybe they’ll bake something for you as a thank you!
Mothers, sisters and women who appreciate good coffee and social justice will delight in beautifully packaged bags of Mama Tierra , Sisters Blend and Congo Coffee Project . Each tells a story and celebrates women. Gift them individually or as a trio! 5 coffee trios with 3lbs of coffee for under $27 each is pretty awesome! In addition to being fairly traded and organic Mama Tierra and Congo Coffee both have an extra bonus – a built-in donation for community development work in Oaxaca, Mexico and the Panzi Hospital in the DR Congo.
Another one of our favorite ideas for affordable gifts for your neighbors, kids’ teachers, or mail person is bite-sized chocolate minis in gift bags you assemble yourself. Buying in bulk gives you the best price.
Call customer service at 774-776-7366 M-F 9-5 EST or email email@example.com
Check out our wholesale case product guide to see case quantities and pricing. If you’re wondering how much your group could earn by marking up the products just a small amount, we’ve done the math for you.
Some groups want to keep prices as low as possible for their shoppers. They divide the cost of the wholesale case by the number of items in it, and then round up to the nearest dollar. Others mark the products up a little bit more, closer to what you might see in a retail store. Either way, small-scale farmers benefit!
We’ve listed our most popular and giftiest items below*. You can use this handy shopping guide to purchase these best-selling products in one collection.
If you only marked the products up from wholesale case price by rounding up to the nearest dollar (assuming you sell-through everything) you would make $103 but you can choose to mark them up to whatever price point you think they’ll sell at, depending on if your goals are to raise money for your organization. Examples of reasonable prices are: $8 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa. Using these prices you would profit $258 for your cause! That could pay for a fair trade fellowship, if you aren’t already serving Equal Exchange coffee regularly.
If you only marked up the products from wholesale case price by rounding up to the nearest dollar and sold it all, you would make $175. If you use a slightly larger mark up ($8 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa) your group would profit $390.
If you marked up the products from wholesale case price by rounding up to the nearest dollar, you would profit $204. If you sold everything at slightly larger mark up ($8 for 12oz bags of coffee, $10 for 1lb bags of coffee, $4 for chocolate bars, $5 for tea, $15 for olive oil and $7 for cocoa) your group would profit $508.40. What could you do with an extra $500?
Ready to order? Purchase on our webstore or call your order into our customer service team at 774-776-7366 (9-5 eastern time Monday through Friday). There’s no minimum order but you get free shipping on orders of $75 or more. Remember, you get the wholesale case price so you can mark up the products after they arrive. We recommend leaving at least 10 business days between the time you order and when you can expect delivery of your Equal Exchange goodies!
*Please note: It’s impossible to know exactly how much people will buy from your sale, therefore these quantities are only suggestions. Because they are consumable products, we can not offer them on consignment. We strongly encourage you to to purchase only what you are confident you can sell through during your event.
You can plan a short presentation using a combination of talking points and videos. Having some coffee or chocolate on hand for folks to taste will help them see how delicious the products are while they learn about the mission behind them.
If a presentation sounds too formal, just have a conversation with someone who is a decision-maker in your group or send them some of the info below in an email while explaining why fair trade is important to you.
Brush up on your fair trade knowledge
Know the Equal Exchange basics
Show the impact on farmers
Learn from others
Show why Equal Exchange coffee is special and still affordable.
Big name chocolate companies were recently called out in the Washington Post for unethical sourcing and child slave labor in the chocolate industry. Be sure you’re not supporting injustices you don’t believe in.
Questions not answered here?
Contact our Massachusetts-based customer service team at 774-776-7366,
“Ours is a growing church with an average attendance about 250 members, with new members joining all of the time. This is because we’re an open and affirming Reconciling Congregation which makes people feel comfortable and safe. And whenever a new member joins we give them a gift of an Equal Exchange product whether it’s a box of tea, a bag of coffee, or a can of cocoa.
We make it easy for people to access and purchase the Equal Exchange products throughout the week; they‘re available in a heavily-trafficked room where neighbors come to drop their kids off for Scouts or to participate in exercise classes. We also don’t seek to make a profit; we don’t use the products as a fundraiser. And we occasionally do things like Sunday school lessons and announcements to educate people about fair trade and the people it affects.
We also sell Equal Exchange products through an honor system where people can take the products they need and leave a check. Finally, as a member of a clergy choir in Central PA, I bring products once a month to display at every choir concert. What this means is that by May this year I will have taken a display to 26 different churches. My clergy colleagues always buy; but those attending the concert often purchase as well!”
Offer a snack that is vegan, paleo, gluten-free … and tastes decadent! You and your family can enjoy while feeling good about the ingredients you used and knowing how they were sourced!
We like that these cups take very little time but fully satisfy your cravings for something chocolatey, sweet and crunchy. Plus, they’re made with organic, fairly traded ingredients!
Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pot of boiling water (but not touching the water) and stir until melted.
Place paper cupcake lines inside the cups of a muffin tin. Add a tablespoon of melted chocolate to each cupcake liner. Use a spoon to work the chocolate up the sides of the liner. Place the whole muffin tin in the freezer for five minutes, until the chocolate hardens.
Remove tin from the freezer and place one scoop of the almond butter mixture in the center of each chocolate filled cupcake liner.
Top each filled cupcake liner with remaining chocolate until the almond butter is completely covered. Place two whole almonds on the top of each almond butter cup.
Place the cups in the freezer for five more minutes to firm up.
Recipe adapted from JoyfulHealthyEats.com
We collected some of our favorite creative, yet simple display ideas for holiday sales during Christmas, Hanukkah and beyond!
A sparkling, lighted display draws in shoppers, using wooden crates to add height and extra shelving. We also offer chocolate and tea racks for purchase. You can bring greenery and pine cones indoors for a gorgeous, natural and economical display. Burlap coffee bags make an eye-catching table cloth or backdrop!
Order free promotional materials like posters, pamphlets, stickers and comic books for your table. We recommend promoting your sale early to drum up excitement. Putting up a poster with your event details and getting the word out using our e-newsletter template is a great way to do this. We’ve also created a shareable photo collection so you can download images to make your own promo materials.
Pre-assemble gift baskets full of fairly traded goodies for people who want gifts to grab and go. Offer a variety of price points to fit many budgets.
Move over, wine! A bottle of organic, fairly traded Palestinian Olive Oil makes a unique & meaningful gift. Tea-towels or silk scarves from the thrift store make beautiful and reusable gift wrap.
Order free gift tags that can be attached to the bottles to give the gift recipients more information about this very special olive oil!
Our chocolate minis packaging kit contains 35 acrylic bags that can be filled with 25 dark chocolate minis. Add holiday stickers and voila! We find that $8 a bag is a fair price that covers your costs with a bit extra left as profit.
Or, package milk or dark chocolate minis in small festive pouches and sell them for a set price. Recommend them to shoppers as the perfect “little something” for a teacher, mail-person or neighbor.
Serving trays, coffee mugs, and cup cozies from the Fair Trade organization Ten Thousand Villages complement coffee, tea and cocoa and make perfect add-ons at your sale table. If you want to include more crafts at your sale, Ten Thousand Villages has an extensive selection of garlands, ornaments and nativities that can be purchased at discounted prices for groups who want to offer them for sale at events.
Break up a chocolate bar into bite-sized pieces and offer samples of flavors people may not have tried, like our wildly popular Lemon, Ginger and Black Pepper, Panama Extra Dark 80% or Milk Chocolate with Caramel Crunch and Sea Salt. They won’t be able to resist picking up a few bars for themselves as well as for gifts!
Brew up a carafe of coffee or hot cocoa for samples. Equal Exchange has airpot labels so folks know what they’re tasting and can buy it from your table. If samples aren’t in your budget, charge just enough to cover your costs (about $0.15 per cup on average ). You could even charge a little more and sell customized cups of cocoa as a fundraiser.
Our best seller, Organic Breakfast Blend, is the perfect coffee to feature at your sale. It’s not only most popular… it’s also our lowest-priced coffee! Your group can still make a small profit by charging $7 a bag while offering a high-quality, fairly traded coffee. And buying Equal Exchange coffee helps small-scale farmers stay on their land, supports your own organization and members get delicious coffee at a great price. What shopper could pass that up?
Tie chocolate bars with ribbon and sell them as a bundle with a price incentive like 5 for $15.
Try your hand at creating a bunch of “tea-trees” with green and peppermint tea bags for fun gifts that also double as display! Or pre-assemble the ingredients needed to make Fair Trade brownies or cookies in mason jars and include the recipe.
Offer treats made with Equal Exchange products for sale. Browse recipes made with fairly traded, organic ingredients like chocolate caramel pecan pie!
Share your displays with us!
Want to get others on board supporting an independent food system with a company that pays small-scale growers fairly? What if people ask tough questions? Let us help you explain why they should switch to using authentic Fair Trade products from Equal Exchange, a pioneer in the U.S. fair trade food and beverage industry.
Fair Trade products from committed brands are better for farmers, better for the environment and better for ourselves. A small change, like choosing fairly traded, organic products has a real and meaningful impact in all three areas. If you want to promote social justice, environmental sustainability and fair trading relationships, buying from Equal Exchange is way to connect your values with your actions as a consumer without sacrificing taste or quality. You might say that our delicious, high-quality products just *happen* to be ethically-sourced!
Fair Trade is a way of doing business that aims to keep small-scale farmers an active part of the world marketplace. It’s not charity – it’s a sustainable and alternative trading model that helps producers make a viable living and stay on their own land while advancing many economic, social and environmental goals. Long-term trading relationships mean income that farmers can count on, year after year. When you buy a fairly traded product from Equal Exchange you know that a stable price was paid to farmers, significantly higher than the fluctuating market price.
By choosing Fair Trade products, you’re supporting a different kind of business model. One that is based on dignity and transparency. One without forced child labor that is not focused on profit-maximizing at the expense of others in the supply chain. Fair Trade premiums allow farming communities to decide collectively which development projects they want to use the money on, like improving access to clean water and education. Small changes we as consumers can make regarding what we choose to buy make a real impact on the quality of the lives of producers and their families. Read a more about Fair Trade principles here.
Often Fair Trade products cost about as much as other organic and specialty-grade products of similar quality. At local farmers markets in the US, many people are willing to pay prices that reflect the hard work of small-scale farmers because they know the care that their community members put into the organic cultivation of food on their farms. It makes sense that local farmers should make more than what it costs them to grow a product, so, the same concept should apply to products like coffee, cacao and tea that aren’t grown locally, right?
We believe a shift in perception of value needs to take place in the marketplace before Fair Trade products become the norm. Equal Exchange has been dedicated to creating an alternative trading model since 1986 and we are committed to continuing to build this movement. To help make fairly traded products affordable, we offer wholesale case pricing to everyone, even if you’re just buying for your home! Read a more in-depth answer to this question here>>
Traditional supply chains have many middle men that take a large percentage, but buying from Equal Exchange, who trades directly with small-scale farmer cooperatives, ensures that that more of the money you spend on coffee and our other products reaches the hardworking farmers who actually grow them. In fact, by the time you purchase from Equal Exchange, the farmers have already been paid and received pre-harvest financing so they can pay for expenses when they need the money. A fairly traded product also means that the producer has received a guaranteed minimum price for their harvest, regardless of the highs and lows of the commodities market. When the market prices are low, the price a farmer gets for their coffee harvest often doesn’t even cover the cost of production. When the market price is high, Fair Trade premiums paid to farmers increase even higher.
Farmers in the Fair Trade system get additional premiums paid to their cooperatives because they farm organically. These premiums go towards projects that their communities choose to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. Access to clean water, education, and healthcare are basic human rights we all deserve and Fair Trade purchases contribute directly toward that advancement.
At the heart of Equal Exchange’s story is our relationship with small farmers. We work directly with over 40 small farmer cooperatives in 25 countries in South American, Latin America, Africa, and Asia to bring you high quality, organic products grown with care by people who take pride in their harvests. There are a variety of videos to share as well as different educational resources, including cooperative profiles, on our website.
There’s a big difference! Equal Exchange has been fighting for market access for small-scale farmers from the moment we were founded in 1986. We’re a worker-owned cooperative whose mission is tied to building a just food system where consumers have choices and feel connected to the people in the supply chains. And Equal Exchange works only with other democratically-organized farmer groups. When you buy from one of the corporate big guys you might ask yourself these questions regarding whom you’re supporting. Are 100% of the products they offer fairly traded? Are economic justice for producers and transparency for consumers among the top priorities for the CEO and shareholders? Equal Exchange operates independently with a more democratic business model and we’re not beholden to shareholders when making decisions that guide our company.
Another difference is quality and freshness! Did you know Equal Exchange expertly roasts our own organic coffee in Massachusetts daily with a team of quality control professionals? Each batch of coffee is “cupped” to make sure it meets the consistent and high quality standards we set for our coffees. We seal in the freshness on each package so it arrives directly from us to your door super fresh and delicious! Take a peek inside our roastery in this video.
And Equal Exchange partners with many relief, development and social justice organizations. Learn more about these partnerships here.
We believe Fair Trade is one tool of many that are needed to build power and more equity for small-scale farmer cooperatives around the world. The biggest problem from our vantage point has been the corporate takeover of Fair Trade. Certifiers invited big players into a system designed for and by small farmers and permitted them to weaken it to meet their needs. Equal Exchange continues to stay the course we initially charted to promote authentic Fair Trade that is in line with our mission.
And if you’re interested in going deeper on food justice issues and building an alternative trade network we invite you to join Equal Exchange as a citizen consumer.
Looking for more?
At Manhattan College in New York, the School of Business teamed up with Campus Ministry and Social Action for a Fair Trade pop-up store on campus during Christmastime. Manhattan College was the first Fair Trade Certified College in New York City, which means they must carry a certain number of items in their cafeterias and in their bookstore that were produced by farmers and artisans who receive fair wages and can perform their duties in a safe working environment. Aileen Farrelly, assistant professor and assistant dean in the School of Business, said, “Fair Trade embodies our Lasallian values, is critical to the College’s mission, and using fair trade products to launch this project helped our students learn about all aspects of running a business.” The pop-up store was called Fair Trade Fuel and students were responsible for accounting and financing, marketing and publicity. They sold chocolate, crafts, and clothing to their campus community over the course of three days. It was so successful that they held another sale around Valentine’s Day, selling Fair Trade chocolate and flowers.
Bryant University in Rhode Island set up a Social Change Marketplace, the first student-run program of its kind in the country. Local social enterprises are invited to participate as vendors selling their products on campus for a day in December. The pop-up holiday marketplace encourages conscious consumerism during the gift-giving season, and all products featured have a positive social impact. Companies each have their own table set up and talk with students about what makes their products special. The popularity of the Marketplace on campus inspired a corporate event at Fidelity Investments and the student organizers shared their successes at the Campus Compact National Conference where colleges and universities gather to build democracy through community development.
Equal Exchange is an ideal partner for groups who are interested in hosting similar pop-up sales. We offer wholesale case pricing to organizations that want to sell organic coffee (in packages or freshly brewed at a coffee kiosk), tea, chocolate bars, olive oil and cocoa. You choose which products you want to sell, buy them by the case, then mark up the products to prices that can either help you reach your fundraising goals or just covers your costs and promotes Fair Trade.
We even provide best selling product suggestions, pricing recommendations, and promotional materials to help make your sale a success! Our customer service team is available M-F 9-5 Eastern at 774-776-7366 to help.
1- Plan early: For a November or December sale, start planning in October so you can reserve a location with lots of foot traffic and coordinate with vendors or wholesalers. Choose a date or a series of dates when people are most likely to shop. If planning a sale seems intimidating, start small by reserving a table at an existing gift fair. You’ll benefit from the excitement that’s already there. Other popular times to have a fair trade sale are when people are looking for ethically-sourced chocolate like right before Valentine’s Day and Halloween.
2- Recruit a strong team: Find volunteers who are interested in social justice but also look for helpers who are studying finances, accounting, sales and marketing. Put a call out for help on Facebook and at the school’s Volunteer or Ministries fair. Professors are also great mentors to help guide you.
3-Add in multiple vendors and brands: Many other Fair Trade brands offer similar wholesale arrangements for event sales so you can have a variety of products for shoppers to choose from – find them here.
4- Invite the community: Opening up the sale to the public, if you’re able to, is a good way to increase foot traffic. Promote the sale on campus radio, social media, the school newspaper, and get it in the local media too. If your event is a fundraiser, we’ve created social media graphics you can use. If you’re just promoting fair trade and ethical consumerism these graphics are great to customize your own promotional ad. Doing interviews and explaining why this sale is special will draw shoppers who are looking for unique gifts that are also doing good in the world.
5-Align your sale with activism-focused events: Some of the best and most effective Fair Trade sales happen during Fair Trade Month in October, World Fair Trade Day in May, and Earth Day in April because they capitalize on existing publicity around social, economic and environmental justice.
We’ve got more ideas for Fair Trade events and fundraisers that work great for campus groups!
Ready to get started? Sign your organization up and order products by the case for wholesale prices.
When it comes to drinking ethically-sourced coffee, you have a choice if you’re at home, but how can you get your church, office, or school to start serving Equal Exchange’s organic, fairly traded coffee?
Based on the questions that come up most often, here are talking points to help energize them to take action.
Equal Exchange coffee is better for farmers, better for the environment and better for ourselves. A small change, like a commitment to using fairly traded, organic coffee has a real and meaningful impact in all three areas. If your members want to promote social justice, environmental sustainability and fair trading relationships, Equal Exchange offers an affordable way to connect your values with your actions without sacrificing taste and quality. Share this colorful display sign with your group.
Equal Exchange is a worker-owned cooperative started in 1986 with a mission to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate the contribution of worker cooperatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world. Is your current coffee company 100% dedicated to doing the same?
Equal Exchange offers organic, ethically sourced products that you can find in natural grocery stores and cafes, but we offer discounted wholesale pricing to faith-based groups, non-profits, offices and schools so you can access affordable, high-quality and fairly traded products for serving and fundraising. Buying from Equal Exchange, who trades directly with small-scale farmer cooperatives, ensures that more of the money you spend on coffee and other products reaches the hardworking farmers who actually grow them. Introduce Equal Exchange’s mission with this 2 minute video
Fair Trade is a way of doing business that aims to keep small farmers an active part of the world marketplace. It’s not charity – it’s a sustainable and alternative trading model that helps producers make a viable living and stay on their own land while advancing many economic, social and environmental goals. Long-term trading relationships mean income that farmers can count on, year after year. When you buy a fairly traded product it means that a stable price was paid to farmers, significantly higher than the fluctuating market price. By choosing Equal Exchange coffee, you’re supporting a different kind of business model, one without forced child labor and one that is based on dignity and transparency. Fair Trade premiums allow farming communities to collectively decide which development projects they want to use the money on, like improving access to clean water and education. Small changes we can make surrounding what we choose to consume make a real impact on the quality of the lives of the producers and their families. Read a more in-depth explanation of Fair Trade principles here.
Conventional agricultural products are steeped in synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Not only does the environment suffer from this overload, but so do the people who live and work nearby. Equal Exchange products are certified organic and produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides. Many people don’t want to put foods grown with pesticides into their bodies and have concerns for the safety of the farmers and for the future of our planet. For more information, read our blog posts on conventional vs organic coffee.
There’s a big difference! Equal Exchange has been fighting for market access for small-scale farmers from the moment we were founded. We’re a worker-owned cooperative whose mission is tied to building a just food system where consumers have choices and feel connected to the people in the supply chains. And Equal Exchange works only with other democratically-organized farmer cooperatives. Buying coffee from one of the big guys means supporting a corporation that may have a few Fair Trade products but isn’t 100% dedicated to Fair Trade like Equal Exchange is.
Another difference is quality and freshness! Did you know Equal Exchange expertly roasts our own organic coffee in Massachusetts daily with a team of quality control professionals? Each batch of coffee is “cupped” to make sure it meets the consistent and high quality standards we set for our coffees. We seal in the freshness on each package so it arrives directly from us to your door super fresh and delicious! Take a peek inside our roastery in this video.
And Equal Exchange partners with many faith-based relief, development and social justice organizations. Learn more about these special partnerships here.
Have our wholesale price list on hand to answer this question directly. Do folks know what they pay per cup of coffee from your current coffee provider? Many of Equal Exchange’s coffee options work out be $0.10 per brewed cup. You won’t find specialty grade, organic, fairly traded coffee for less. Some groups afford it by collecting spare change near the coffee pot or by doing a sale of EE products like chocolate and snacks, marking up the costs slightly, and using the profits to cover the cost of their coffee.
We think our specialty-grade, organic coffees are all delicious in their own way, but read reviews from our customers to see which coffees are most popular with customers. If you’d like to speak with someone from Equal Exchange about which roast level is a good fit for you please contact 774-776-7366.
In most cases Fair Trade products are priced closely to similar high-quality products. At local farmers markets in the US, many people are willing to pay prices that reflect the hard work of small-scale farmers because they know the care that their community members put into the organic cultivation of food on their farms. It makes sense to people that local farmers should make more than what it costs them to grow a product, so, the same concept should apply to products that aren’t grown locally, right? If you’re paying really cheap price for coffee or any other labor-intensive product, there’s a good chance that someone in the supply chain is being exploited.
We believe a shift in perception of value needs to take place in the marketplace. Equal Exchange has been dedicated to creating an alternative trading model since 1986 and we are committed to continuing to build this movement.
In traditional supply chains, middle men take the lion’s share of the profits. In Equal Exchange’s case, we ensure that more of the money you pay goes to the farmers because we trade directly with the farmer cooperatives. They are the ones doing the hardest work and taking most of the risk, after all! Actually, by the time you purchase from Equal Exchange, the farmers have already been paid and given pre-harvest financing so they can pay expenses well before products reach the US.A fairly traded product means that the producer has received a guaranteed minimum price for their coffee, regardless of the highs and lows of the commodities market. When the market prices are low, the price a farmer gets for their coffee harvest often doesn’t even cover the cost of production. When the market price is high, Fair Trade premiums paid to farmers increase even higher. Farmers in the Fair Trade system even get additional premiums paid to their cooperatives because they sell organic products. These premiums go towards projects that the farming communities choose to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. Access to clean water, education, and healthcare are basic human rights everyone deserves.
To find out more about coffee pricing you can read this great blog post by Kim Coburn, one of Equal Exchange’s coffee buyers.
At the heart of Equal Exchange’s story is our relationship with small farmers. We work directly with over 40 small farmer co-operatives in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to bring you high quality, organic coffee. We have a variety of videos to share as well as different educational resources like farmer stories on our website.