Fair Trade Forever
WRITTEN BY: Elan Lieber
As California's first Fair Trade certified coffee roaster in 1999, Equator has stood at the forefront of the sustainable coffee movement. We've always believed that better coffee could create a better world, and today this mission is more vital than ever. Sourcing and roasting the highest quality coffee is only possible with a transparent supply chain that contributes to the social welfare of the farmers and producers. Through certification with Fair Trade USA, we ensure our supply chain benefits our employees and community, which leads to environmental sustainability at home and abroad.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a global movement made up of diverse producers, companies, consumers, advocates, and organizations putting people and the planet first. Our partners, Fair Trade USA, believe that everyone wants to do what's right—for their families, fellow global citizens, and our earth. That's why we're committed to making the right choices, the most obvious ones. Based on the idea that the coffee we buy and sell every day connects us to the livelihoods of others, fair trade is a way to make a conscious choice for a better world. A choice for Fair Trade Certified™ coffee is a choice to support responsible companies, empower farmers, workers, and protect the environment.
What does Fair Trade certification mean?
When you see the Fair Trade seal on our bags, it means the coffee was produced under rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards. That means:
- Safe working conditions
- Environmental protection
- Sustainable livelihoods
- Community Development Funds
Every time you enjoy a Fair Trade Certified coffee with Equator, you enable farmers to earn a little extra for their coffee and improve their lives. Your purchase supports training to help fair trade farmers across the globe promote their coffees. By assisting them in selling more coffee, you empower them to support their families and their entire communities.
When you "Seek the Seal" and purchase Fair Trade certified coffees you support the unsung heroes throughout the value chain. Thanks to you, they can continue to support themselves, their families, and the livelihood in their entire community.
Why It Matters
Coffee farmers and producer workers are among the lowest-paid people in the world. While Equator founder Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell are co-owners of Finca Sophia, Equator sources coffee from all over the globe and doesn't own the large majority of farms that produce our coffee, so we have limited control over how much direct compensation workers receive. But through Fair Trade, we can provide workers with tangible benefits that improve their lives.
We pay a premium for every Equator coffee that carries the Fair Trade Certified label. That extra money goes directly to the producers at the farm, and they decide how to spend it. This is not a top-down program. On many farms, a democratically elected committee of Fair Trade workers decides how the funds will be used. Workers have chosen to use the premiums to fund community projects, like health-care programs or improving farm equipment, or to purchase products they could not otherwise afford, like a laptop computer or take a cash bonus. Fair Trade does not stop there. The program also promotes worker health and safety and social and environmental compliance and encourages dialogue between workers and management.
22 Years and Counting
Through our partnership with Fair Trade USA, Equator has been roasting Fair Trade coffees since 1999. Today, we are proud to offer 11 Fair Trade Certified coffees.
What More Can Be Done
While three-fourths of millennials want Fair Trade products, not all coffee roasters are committed to Fair Trade. In partnership with Fair Trade USA and our producers, more than X Fair Trade Certified™ farms offer specialty-grade coffee. We encourage other roasters that source in those countries to join us in the Fair Trade movement.