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Green CDs : International edition : Saturday, 18 January 2020 21:03 ST : a service of The Public Press
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A Better Safe Place: Green CDs

     by Stephen Morris

This seems like a great alternative to going into debt or selling shares of stock. Anyone out there game for buying a Green Living CD?

While other small, growing natural product brands get bought up by large corporations, Equal Exchange the Fair Trade coffee pioneers and Wainwright Bank have created a unique, company-specific Certificate of Deposit to raise affordable capital. This provides much needed operating capital and protects Equal Exchange's unorthodox structure of employee ownership. This CD offers small and large investors alike a convenient, familiar way to profitably participate in, and support, the growth of Equal Exchange and Fair Trade. Lastly, the CD further strengthens Wainwright's reputation as one of the nation's leading socially progressive banks.

Equal Exchange was recently named one of the 2006 SBANE Innovation Award winners for its unconventional, yet very successful, business model. Unlike funds raised by other CDs which go into a general account at the issuing bank, and might ultimately finance a subdivision in Miami or a hotel in Las Vegas, purchasers of the Equal Exchange Certificate of Deposit will know that their investment will create a line of credit dedicated to Equal Exchange's use. To the company's knowledge, this is the first company-specific CD to be issued in the United States.

Equal Exchange has grown 100% since 2002, and 700% since 1995. Such rapid growth means the worker cooperative needs more cash each year to purchase the fairly traded coffee, tea, and cocoa for which it is known. In 2005 alone the cooperative bought 4.3 million pounds of Fair Trade Certified coffee, costing more than $5.7 million.quiet zone
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Rink Dickinson, Equal Exchange co-founder and President, describes how the program works:

"Each time someone buys a $2,000 CD, it provides the cash Equal Exchange needs to purchase, at a Fair Trade price, the coffee grown by a typical family farm supporting 6-8 people. Over 100,000,000 Americans drink coffee every day, so even if a tiny fraction of them were to add this CD to their portfolio that will make a huge, direct contribution to supporting small-scale coffee farmers around the world."

Wainwright will handle the sales and customer service for the CD's, which are now available alongside other financial products. The CD has a 3-year term, a competitive rate and a $1000 minimum.

Founded in 1987, Wainwright Bank is a socially responsible commercial bank headquartered in Boston with assets of $780 million. Over 40 percent of the bank's commercial lending portfolio is committed to progressive community development initiatives including affordable housing, homeless shelters, HIV/AIDS services, community health centers, and environmental issues to name a few. Equal Exchange, a market leader in Fair Trade coffee and other foods since 1986, is a full service provider of high quality, organic coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate and sugar to retailers and food service establishments. In keeping with its Fair Trade mission Equal Exchange is a worker cooperative, owned and democratically controlled by its employees.

13,689 neighbors have viewed this article.

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International editors: Stephen Morris & Michael Potts
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