This year we asked our director of purchasing and production, Todd Caspersen, to conduct a critical analysis of how we think our coffee farmer cooperatives are faring. His assessment is sobering. We have decided to share it in this space, unsparing and unfiltered, believing that this level of analysis will make all of us more informed and enable us to critically assess where in the years to come we can collectively make the most progress in building supply chains that truly work for small scale coffee farmers, Equal Exchange and our customers.
Categories: At Equal Exchange
Carly KadlecJanuary 9, 2018
I often tell people that the easiest part of being a green coffee buyer is actually buying the coffee. The much more complicated and interesting part of my job is collaborating with our producer partners to work on the issues and threats that coffee-growing communities face. One of the big contemporary threats to coffee production is the aging of coffee farmers.
Laura BechardDecember 11, 2017
As rain drizzled down from slate grey skies, thousands of visitors took refuge inside Smith Cove at Pier 91 to attend the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle. The festival has been a staple of the city’s events scene since 2008. This year, the chocolate team at Equal Exchange participated in the festival workshops and unconference from Nov. 9-12.
Equal ExchangeNovember 21, 2017
Equal Exchange has been named the 2017 Massachusetts Sustainable Business of the Year by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts, in the Eastern Massachusetts: Mid-Sized Business category.
Ashley SymonsOctober 31, 2017
Happy Halloween! This year, it's expected that Halloween candy sales will reach a record $2.75 billion in retail sales. According to the National Confectioners Association, Halloween is the biggest holiday for seasonal candy sales, accounting for about 34 percent of seasonal candy sales (outnumbering Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day). And, if you took all the candy that’s sold during Halloween week, it would equal about 300,000 tons or two pounds of candy per American!
Sara FioreOctober 24, 2017
October is Co-op Month! At Equal Exchange, we’re proud to be a worker-owned co-operative and to trade with democratic farmer co-ops worldwide. Co-operative values are key to who we are, and they manifest in our daily and long-term work.
Daniel FiresideOctober 17, 2017
One of the first questions investors ask of a company is, “What’s your Exit Strategy?” In other words, when are you going to go public or sell your company to a larger company so I can cash out with 10 times my original investment?
Equal ExchangeSeptember 8, 2017
If you've been following this blog over the last year, you've seen various critiques of the Fair Trade movement - both its history and the current state of the so-called movement that requires consumers to simply look for a certification seal. To help articulate an authentic version of Fair Trade that is shared by many Equal Exchange colleagues, allies, and partners, we created a comic book that presents the history of Fair Trade with illustrated condensed stories, and heroes and villains. Our hope is that readers will dig deeper, ask questions, and think about the future of small farmers, co-ops, and alternative trade organizations.
Rink DickinsonSeptember 5, 2017
Fair trade has gone further in the U.K. than perhaps any other country. And now fair trade—as viewed from the perspective of labeled product—is falling off the cliff. Sainsbury, one of the largest supermarkets in the U.K., is slowly abandoning the seal in favor of in-house certification. Tesco, another major supermarket, is abandoning the seal but on a faster timeline. Likewise, Mondelez, one of the largest chocolate companies, is replacing the already weakened, corporate-dominated seal with its own fully controlled, in-house seal.
Equal ExchangeAugust 8, 2017
Twelve years ago this week, Equal Exchange began roasting after building the largest worker-owned coffee roasting operation in the U.S. - and maybe the world. We import green (unroasted) coffee from small farmer co-ops and roast it, making it a direct, cooperative supply chain from farmers to Equal Exchange to you. The beans are roasted on two machines: the G120, which was installed in 2005, and the R1000, which came two years later. In July, we roasted an average of about 22,000 pounds of green coffee per day!