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In a nutshell, Equal Exchange promote an honest and equal exchange. You get the world's finest organic and fairtrade products, the farmer gets a better life and the environment is cared for too. Simple really.
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.
Based in Edinburgh, Equal Exchange now stock a range of items, from tea to chocolate, honey to nuts, all of them fairtrade and ethically sourced. They have built relationships throughout the developing world ensuring the ethics of Equal Exchnage remain at the fore of the cooperative.
And, Equal Exchange is indeed a workers co-operative. It is a company that is owned & controlled by its employees. Each employee member has an equal share in the ownership of the company and operates within a shared common value system. Like all co-operatives they subscribe to seven founding principles that include concern for the community and education training and information.
Equal Exchange has been making tea for a very long time and have launched a new range of Fair Trade and organic teas with their sister co-operative in the US, Equal Exchange Inc.
The Fair Trade and organic teas come from their small farmer partners in India and Sri Lanka. Most teas on the shelf – even some Fair Trade certified teas – come from plantations where tea workers have little say and are dependent on the owners and management of the plantation for every aspect of their lives. Equal Exchange Teas support a tea model in which farmers control their own futures. Make time for tea we say!
And now, Equal Exchange teas are available for UK wide delivery online at Fresh Food Express
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