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Equal Exchange Announces Its First Fair Trade Certified™ Sugar

Submitted by: Equal Exchange

Categories: Human Rights

Posted: Mar 15, 2005 – 11:00 PM EST

 

Fair Trade Pioneers Expand Their Work with Small-scale Cane Growers

Mar. 15 /CSRwire/ - WEST BRIDGEWATER, MA -- Equal Exchange announces today that it has broadened its work to offer Fair Trade Certified™ sugar in 3.5 gram single-serving packets. This marks the latest expansion of Equal Exchange's efforts to bring the benefits of Fair Trade to more farmers worldwide, and to more consumers in theUnited States. The organic evaporated cane sugar is grown by three cooperatives of small-scale farmers inParaguay, and is imported in collaboration with La Siembra, a Fair Trade worker cooperative inOttawa,Canada. The initial Fair Trade certification is provided by the non-profit organization, TransFairCanada, in agreement with its American counterpart, TransFairUSA.

The Fair Trade model ensures higher incomes for these sugar cane growers, who often face unpredictable swings in the prices paid for their crop. Fair Trade also provides support for their cooperatives, a key to self-help efforts and local economic development. On average the 150 participating families cultivate less than 20 acres of sugar cane each and therefore cannot individually afford to invest in the infrastructure that would help them raise their standard of living. By combining their efforts with neighboring farmers, and with the extra income generated by Fair Trade sales, social and economic improvements have become possible.

The cooperatives have already used Fair Trade funds to set up educational scholarships for their children, to open a new warehouse, and a telecommunications center. They have also purchased equipment, including large scales and a crane, to perform more value-added processing.

Equal Exchange began selling the sugar packets in November, 2004, and now distributes the sugar to café's, restaurants, consumer food cooperatives, and to churches participating in Equal Exchange's unique Interfaith Coffee Program. Numerous requests for Fair Trade sugar from places of worship were a key factor in the decision to add this new product.

Equal Exchange is promoting this new product at the Natural Products Expo West inAnaheim,California, March 18-20. The sugar will be available at the Equal Exchange booth, #4127.

Since Equal Exchange's founding in 1986 the worker cooperative has continually expanded the reach of Fair Trade through its products and programs. In addition to growing their core Fair Trade coffee operation, and publicly promoting the Fair Trade model, a third approach has been to expand into new food and beverage categories. Towards this goal Equal Exchange launched its line of fairly traded organic teas in 1998. In 2002 Equal Exchange first began working with the Paraguayan cooperatives, when their sugar was used for Equal Exchange's organic hot cocoa mix. In 2004 Equal Exchange greatly expanded its work with both sugar and cocoa farmers when it introduced organic, Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate bars.

Equal Exchange, a pioneer andU.S.market leader in Fair Trade coffee since 1986, is a full service provider of high quality, organic coffee, tea, cocoa products and chocolate to retailers and food service establishments. Major customers include Kroger, Safeway, Shaw's, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford supermarkets, natural food stores, consumer food cooperatives, cafés, restaurants, and thousands of places of worship nationwide. 100% of Equal Exchange products are fairly traded, benefiting 27 small farmer cooperatives in 16 countries around the world. In keeping with its Fair Trade mission Equal Exchange is aworker cooperative, owned and democratically controlled by its employees.

For more information:
www.transfair.ca/en/
&
www.fairtrade.net/sites/standards/sp.html.

For more information, please contact:

Rodney North Equal Exchange
Phone: +1-774-776-7398

 

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