Equal Exchange: A Mission Accomplished

Jun 23, 2022 8:15 AM ET

by Ted Ketcham, editor, GreenMoney

It was a fortuitous sharing of vision and willingness to take risks that drove Equal Exchange founders Rink Dickinson, Jonathan Rosenthal, and Michael Rozyne in 1986 to move forward with their vision of Fair Trade and a better world. The three were managers at a food cooperative in New England who dreamed of a large and inclusive economy that lifted up the prosperity of growers in the Third World — growers whose poorly paid labor had long kept the wealthy in comfort and the growers in poverty.

Meeting once a week for three years to discuss how best to change the way food is grown, bought, and sold around the world, they hatched a plan for a new organization to be called Equal Exchange. 

The idea of Fair Trade, as practiced by Equal Exchange, was to establish direct relationships between growers and buyers, betting that consumers would support the cooperatives by paying a little extra for higher quality coffee. The profits were shared equally.

Today, while they are a much larger organization with more than 100 worker-owners and a significant national and international scale, they are still breaking conventions when they buy from their trade partners in organic, gourmet coffee, tea, sugar, bananas, avocados, cocoa, and chocolate bars and olive oils produced by farmer cooperatives in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. 

Read Ted's full article here on the amazing 30 year journey of Equal Echange here - https://greenmoney.com/equal-exchange-a-mission-accomplished