Saturday, January 13, 2007

Equal Exchange's CD: Win-Win Investing

Nope, this is not an album of coffee farmers sining in the rainforest. Equal Exchange is offering investor CD's at competitive rates: 3-year term, minimum of $1000, paying 4.45%. That's an excellent rate, so here is a chance to use your capital to do good in the world. You're not even donating it - you're making a nice profit. The money goes through Boston's Wainwright bank as a direct credit line for Equal Exchange's fair trade farmers. Farmers have always needed help getting from planting to harvest. As more funds are invested, the cooperative can bring in new members. How cool is that - your investment helps a family earn fair returns on their physical labor.
There's a debate in the Social Responsible Investment world - some say invest in funds which screen for no-no's; some say invest in a particular sector, like alternative energy. Others say skip the do-good investment thing, but instead earn the best return you can, and donate a portion of your profits.
My husband and I have decided to take 1% of our net worth and do something else - invest directly with those who need the loans and are doing worthy things. (Coop America has publicized this goal.) We have invested in The Reinvestment Fund and Equal Exchange. We will look for more opportunities to invest in similar micro-credit funds. To me this is the perfect way to invest in our own personal future and bring others along with us! These opps are hard to find. Kudos to Coop America for publicizing Equal Exchange!

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