Fairtrade Friday

Amy and her dad at a fairtrade conference
Amy and her dad at a fairtrade conference

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.

Here goes:

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.

Thanks Amy!

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One thought on “Fairtrade Friday

  1. Im not sure if you are aware that the fair trade movement was started by religious groups in the 1940s and 1950s – Ten Thousand Villages, an NGO within the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and SERRV International were the first, in 1946 and 1949 respectively, to develop fair trade supply chains in developing countries.

    Fair trade may not be the solution to end poverty in the developing world, but it certainly has done more than alternative ideas or movements. Unfortunately, the credit crisis has adversely affected the fair trade movement. Just like businesses in the North, fair trade businesses in the developing world need access to fair financing for such things as overcoming temporary shortfalls in cash flow or term loans for capital equipment.

    Unfortunately there are few (if any) financing options available and as a result we are starting to see seemingly vibrant fair trade businesses beginning to fail.

    Shared Interest is a co-operative lending society and world’s only 100% fair trade lender that aims to reduce poverty in the world by providing fair and just financial services. We work with fair trade businesses all over the world, both producers and buyers, providing credit to help them trade and develop. If you would like to learn how you and your church can invest in fair trade, I would like to encourage you to visit our website or send me an email.

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