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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

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Equal Exchange

How ethical is Equal Exchange?

Equal Exchange, a chocolate brand, is one of The Good Shopping Guide’s leading ethical brands. Equal Exchange is a self-owned company. The brand receives an excellent Good Shopping Guide ethical score in our Ethical Chocolate Ratings Table and therefore passes our ethical benchmark as a good ethical brand.  We encourage other companies in the Chocolate sector to follow Equal Exchange’s example and adopt more ethical policies and practices.

What does Equal Exchange do?

In order to figure out how to transform the way food is grown, purchased, and sold around the world, the three founders of Equal Exchange decided to meet once a week back in 1986. They did this for three years. They had a plan for a new organisation named Equal Exchange by the end of this planning period.

When Equal Exchange started in 1986, the brand purposely set out to build both a new and more equitable model of international trade and a rare-in-the-U.S. democratic business. It broke many of the conventional rules of the market with the goal to trade fairly with farmers and build democratic supply chains. The concepts of fair trade and alternative trade were barely known at that time. Today, while it is a much larger organisation with more than 100 worker-owners and a significant national and international scale, it is still living it’s original wild-eyed dream and breaking conventions with every purchase we make from our trade partners in coffee, bananas, cocoa, and tea.

In what areas does Equal Exchange perform well?  

The brand received a top rating in important categories such as Organic Products, Nuclear Power, Animal Welfare, Political Donations, and Fairtrade products. (Find out more about How We Rate brands for their ethics and sustainability by clicking on the link.)

Equal Exchange chocolates are crafted using only the purest ingredients, grown with care by small-scale farmer co-ops. We source from these organisations because we believe they are the heart and soul of the Fair-Trade movement.

How could Equal Exchange rate be higher on our Ethical Chocolate Ratings Tables? Due to its excellent score, Equal Exchange is eligible for Ethical Accreditation from The Good Shopping Guide. To improve its score further, the brand should consider introducing Vegetarian and Vegan options more widely available and improving its ratings in Genetic Modification and Environmental Reports. If you’re involved or associated with an ethical and sustainable chocolate brand, why not get in touch to find out more about Ethical Accreditation with The Good Shopping Guide?

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power



  • Animal Welfare


  • Vegetarian/Vegan



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Fairtrade



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


= GSG Top Rating = GSG Middle Rating = GSG Bottom Rating