Our New Social Equity Premium
Raising the Bar on Fair Trade
In addition to paying the international Fair Trade price of $1.41/lb. for all of our coffees, we also pay a six-cent Social Equity Premium to the farmers for each pound of their coffee that we roast and sell. We are the only company in the USA paying the farmers more than the Fair Trade price. This is our way of taking Fair Trade to the next level, a sort of profit-sharing arrangement that the farmers are free to use for cash distribution, community development, internal expenses or whatever else they decide is their highest priority.
These premiums mean we are paying the highest Fair Trade prices in the country and that farmers will have needed cash for health care, social programs or outright distribution to members. We delivered our first premiums to Pangoa Cooperative in Peru in October of 2003. It was their first Fair Trade sale, and that money combined with our new premium has had a significant impact on the viability of the coop.
We made the first big round of payments in July, and here are the amounts and what each of the coops did with their Social Equity Premiums:
Our Social Equity Premium program, along with the rest of our Fair Trade practices were independently audited by Quality Assurance International in August of 2004, and will continue to be audited annually. The results of that audit are available here.