Equal Exchange leads in sustainable agriculture

Community development investing |

The pioneering organization seeks to make fair trade connections

Equal Exchange is a democratic, worker-owned cooperative designed to build long-term, economically just and environmentally sound partnerships rather than just maximize profits.

It is a leader in the world of worker-owned cooperatives, with partners in more than 20 countries and a variety of products including coffee, chocolate, bananas, olive oil, avocados, bananas, cashews, almonds, mangoes and more. Because of its longstanding relationships with numerous partners, Equal Exchange can ethically secure the best crops and best prices for both the farmer and consumer, while continuing to develop and implement innovative, beneficial programs. 

Three people in an orchard

One such program is happening in Peru with Lima-based partner La Grama in the rapidly expanding avocado industry. When La Grama started in 2006, its focus was on ginger grown in the Amazon jungle. Not long after, its leaders realized the potential for small-scale Peruvian farmers and used their connections to U.S. and European markets through Equal Exchange to develop a fair-trade avocado supply chain.

In 2017, Equal Exchange’s chocolate team participated in the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle, but this time, several of its farmer co-op partners were at the festival.

Two people beside a display of packaged chocolates
The rise in popularity of farmer-led workshops is a positive trend that humanizes the chocolate experience. The shared experience lines up with Equal Exchange’s mission to “foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers.” 

Praxis Mutual Funds® supports organizations such as Equal Exchange through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.

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Author Kristin Troyer
Marketing Intern

Community Development Investing

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