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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 coffee 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 Coffee Ratings Table and therefore passes our ethical benchmark as a good ethical brand. We encourage other companies in the ethical coffee brands 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 revolutionise the way food is grown, purchased, and sold all over the world, the three founders decided to meet once a week back in 1986. They continued to do so for three years. They finally came up with a strategy for a new organisation called Equal Exchange.

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 Fairtrade 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 its 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 coffee products, Nuclear Power, Animal Welfare, Political Donations, and Fairtrade coffee products.

How could Equal Exchange’s Ethical Rating be higher on our Ethical Coffee 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 could also improve its ratings in Genetic Modification and Environmental Reports.

Does your coffee brand have certification of its commitment to sustainability and ethics? If not, why don’t you fill out our initial assessment form, to see if your brand could qualify for The Good Shopping Guide’s prestigious Ethical Accreditation?

Ethical performance in category


GSG score


GSG category benchmark


Ethical Rating


  • Environmental Report


  • Genetic Modification


  • Organic


  • Nuclear Power



  • Animal Welfare



  • Armaments


  • Political Donations


  • Fairtrade



  • Ethical Accreditation


  • Public Record Criticisms


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