Fairtrade: An integral part of church mission
What does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8)
Justice is a central tenet of Christian faith. Standing up for the poor and vulnerable is exactly what Jesus did during his ministry. Putting ourselves out for our neighbour and helping them to provide for themselves is at the heart of Christian mission.
Fairtrade does all these!
- Fair and just prices to enable farmers and workers in the world’s poorest countries to feed their families and pay for schooling and healthcare.
- Unique Fairtrade social premium to benefit the wider community through clean water, education, transport and more.
- Environmental protection to care for God’s earth, farm sustainably and reduce the impacts of climate change.
- Health and safety and business training to give opportunities to people to reach their potential.
- No child labour.
- Campaigning to change global trade to be fair to all farmers.
Fairtrade is a brilliant anti-poverty tool that treats people with dignity and brings justice and hope to those trapped by an unfair trading system. So why has Fairtrade fallen from the church’s radar recently? Common responses are ‘Isn’t it everywhere?’ and ‘Aren’t there more pressing issues for us to address?’
Actually, only a tiny percentage of goods from developing countries are sold on Fairtrade terms. In fact, some tea plantations that have worked so hard to achieve Fairtrade status currently sell less than 5% of their tea as Fairtrade – the rest they have to sell for whatever they can get, often not even covering the costs of production. Climate change is a vital issue and Fairtrade is actively involved in those areas that are most affected – through training and adaptation. Migration and war are often caused by extreme poverty, and Fairtrade helps mitigate this making communities more resilient.
These are serious issues, but Fairtrade can be fun too. Who doesn’t love chocolate and bananas? Simply by buying fair we are proclaiming a belief in a just and inclusive world, where everyone is loved and valued and deserves a fair chance.
So what are you waiting for? Become a Fairtrade Church
To be part of the campaign by becoming a Fairtrade Church, please register with us.
Your Church Council must agree to the following:
Use Fairtrade tea and coffee after services and in all meetings for which you have responsibility
Move forward on using other Fairtrade products such as sugar, biscuits and fruit
Promote Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight and during the year through events, worship and other activities whenever possible
Once you have achieved the three goals, please complete the Church Application Form and return it to the Fairtrade Foundation by email or post to Fairtrade Church Application, The Fairtrade Foundation, 3rd Floor, Ibex House, 42-47 Minories, London EC3N 1DN.
Once your application has been processed, they will send you a pack of materials including a Fairtrade Church certificate to display in your church. You can also download a Welsh version of the Church Application Form
FAIRTRADE FORTNIGHT 2016
Church House staff celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 with a Big Breakfast on the 1st March. Staff could choose delights, purchased from Traidcraft, such as fruit juices, museli, geobars, fruit, jam and marmalade. Prizes, for a Fairtrade Qui,z were bars of Divine's new dark chocolate with almonds and raisins.
They were trying to send out a strong message of the need to keep buying Fairtrade products as there is still such scope for more. Recently a tea producer in Kenya, Patrick Kabena Mathaura, explained that only three percent of his crop goes as Fairtrade. The premium from this small amount has allowed his cooperative to build a school and a maternity clinic which is having far reaching effects on people's lives. Imagine if he could sell more, what effect that could have on the future of the children and the lives of the families involved.
Great to hear that Christ Church, Chelmsford held a Big Breakfast as did St George's Hartlepool. Commitment for Life Advocate Chris Eddowes explains.
"The Big Breakfast was held on Sunday 6th March at St George's URC before morning worship. We had as much Fairtrade as possible. I made granola from fair trade honey, dried banana and mango with apricot kernels and almonds. Only the oats weren't fair trade. This was eaten with fair trade coconut milk - the texture is rather like yoghurt. Bread rolls and croissants were filled with Fairtrade marmalade, jam, peanut butter and honey and there were bananas to finish with. Needless to say, there were gallons of Fairtrade coffee and tea, the coffee made with our new catering filter machine from Traidcraft! There were requests for this to happen every week!If you held an event during Fairtrade Fortnight please do contact us with stories and images.