Why Fair Trade instead of donating profits to development projects?

Our goal as a Fair Trade organization is to support the initiative of small farming communities through Fair Trade - helping them to help themselves.

The above market premiums paid to farmer cooperatives - the amount of money paid above market prices - is a fair price for hard work and a quality product. These funds have been instrumental in helping farmers and their families hold on to their land and livelihood and be able to support themselves rather than depending on aid.

One of the goals of Equal Exchange is to influence the conventional coffee business and to encourage other companies to make their trading practices more fair to producers. We feel it is important to show that such a business model is not only possible, but can grow and succeed. The number of conventional companies now doing some portion of purchases through the Fair Trade system is a sign that we have succeeded to some degree.