This week I have interviewed a student from our church about fairtrade. Amy is studying in Cardiff and has been a strong activist over all things fairtrade for a long time now. She is very well informed and thought through on this issue.
Jonathan: What is so special about fairtrade?
Amy: Fairtrade ensures that producers get a minimum price for their product, covering the cost of sustainable production, which means producers don’t make a loss. On top of this a premium is paid which members of the organisation invest in community projects. This means the effects of fairtrade benefit the wider community, and because this money is controlled locally it gives dignity and responsibility locally too. I think this community aspect is part of what is so special about fairtade.
Jonathan: Why should Christians care?
Amy: Because God does! Justice is a theme that runs all through the Bible, and conventional trade often discriminates and exploits the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable. I think it’s important to realise that communities, families and individuals are affected by the consumer choices we make. Fairtrade offers a practical and positive alternative which improves lives and gives dignity to people who bear God’s image.
Jonathan: Why should local church care?
When local churches support fairtrade, it makes a practical difference through supporting and switching to fairtrade products and promoting fairtrade produce. But it also makes a strong statement that there is a community of Christ followers who care about the working conditions, financial sustainability and community impact of the products they buy. Even when the impact is thousands of miles away, often completely unseen and affecting people we may never meet. Fairtrade offers a simple way for a congregation to show grace and generosity with lasting impact.