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Equal Exchange

Fair Trade is an alternative approach to conventional international trade. It is a sustainable trading partnership with disadvantaged producers in the 'third world', which aims to improve livelihoods by giving producers more control over their lives.

Equal Exchange is a Fair Trade company distributing Organic and Fair Trade products in the independent natural food sector. They have their own branded Fair Trade products as well as distributing other selected brands such as Cafédirect and Divine Chocolate. The co-operative provides consumers with high quality food and beverages sourced from marginalised and small-scale farmers. ALL Equal Exchange products are fairly traded and most are also certified organic.


In 1979, three voluntary workers returned to Edinburgh after working on aid projects in various parts of Africa.  Along with a sister organisation in London, Campaign Co-op, they started buying instant coffee from Bukoba on Lake Victoria in Tanzania. As a result Campaign Coffee was born.

In 1991, Equal Exchange co-founded Cafédirect. Along with Twin Trading, Traidcraft and Oxfam they own 25% of the company and have a director on the board.  Cafédirect is the leading UK Fair Trade brand, which was set up to lead Fair Trade into mainstream supermarkets in the UK.

The company has been a member of IFAT, the International Federation for Alternative Trade, since its foundation in May 1989, and encourages all Fair Trading companies to join. It is the only company-wide standard of Fair Trade in existence. Members in the North and South have agreed to monitor their practice against this Code to encourage transparency and consumer confidence in Fair Trade claims.

In 2003, Equal Exchange was awarded the Fairtrade Mark for it's Organic Rooibos tea - the first and only Rooibos in the UK to have this.


One of the guiding principles of Equal Exchange is to be a major influence in the Fair Trade sector. Currently with an annual turnover of around £1 million, Equal Exchange invests any surpluses in developing ways to campaign more effectively for Fair Trade as a mainstream method of purchasing products from the third world.

For further information, contact:
Equal Exchange
Tel: 131 220 3484
e-mail: or

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Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210