The Value of Certifications

Since our founding in 1995 by Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell, we have been a leader in sustainability and social responsibility.  As a women-owned, green-certified coffee roaster our core belief is that quality leads to sustainability.  In 2011, we formalized our commitment to sustainability by becoming a certified B Corporation, making Equator the first California coffee roaster to do so.  In addition to our status as a B Corp, we are also deeply rooted in working with partners in our industry to ensure we are sourcing coffees in an ethical and sustainable manner. 

Both Fair Trade USA and USDA Organic play an integral role in our chain of well-being.  Equator’s unwavering pursuit of quality leads to socially and environmentally responsible business decisions that help ensure a steady supply of quality coffee into the future.  We understand that our position in the supply chain is valuable, and we will continue to do our best to use our business as a force for good.

In addition to several direct purchasing relationships, we focus on three certifications.  Each of these certifications has a significantly positive impact, but in different complementary avenues. 

 B Corp

Certified by the non-profit B Lap, B Corps are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.  We are proud to be a part of this growing community of more than 1,600 certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to use business as a force for good. Our intention has always been to run a socially and environmentally responsible business.  From our purchasing power, to the benefits we offer our employees (including 401K plans and full health care benefits) we consider the impact we have on the world around us.  This is one of the pillars of being a B-Corp. 

Watch to learn more about what it means to be a B Corp.

Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade Certified™ products help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and promote sustainability. Fair Trade’s rigorous social, environmental and economic standards work to promote safe, healthy working conditions, protect the environment, enable transparency, and empower communities to build strong, thriving businesses.  Equator offers numerous Fair Trade coffees, and one of our most popular is the Fair Trade Organic Mocha Java. This blend combines three Fair Trade certified coffees. Two from Ethiopia and one from Indonesia. The Fair Trade certification provides documented proof that the people producing these coffees are treated with respect and rewarded for holding high standards for workers and the environment.  Purchasing Fair Trade certified coffee is a mindful decision to support democratically elected co-operatives. It is also a decision to support and sustain the communities who produce Fair Trade goods.


USDA Organic

USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed per federal guidelines addressing many factors. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the best of their ability. Amidst nutrition facts, ingredients lists, and dietary claims on food packages, “organic” might appear as one more piece of information to decipher when shopping for the foods we buy. Regarding coffee, Organic certification is the most comprehensive certification covering both clean growing standards and practices as well as ensuring no genetically modified organisms were used in production.

Equator’s unwavering pursuit of quality leads to socially and environmentally responsible business decisions that ensure a steady supply of quality coffee into the future. Every cup of coffee has a story of its region, altitude, climate, soil, production method, and the farmer who grew it. Equator’s passion is bringing that story to life. When we taste each new coffee to ensure that its finest characteristics are revealed, we are honoring the farmers who grew the beans, while striving to provide our customers with the most deeply satisfying, responsibly produced cup of coffee possible. Because quality starts on the farm, exceptional coffee is never about a single certification, region, growing practice, or variety. It’s about relationships with the people who grow it. We seek a world in which business partnerships in the global coffee community are mutually beneficial for farmers, consumers, roasters, and retailers.

Michael McSherry
Roaster | Equator Coffees & Teas