[DISCLAIMER: These blog posts do not necessarily reflect The Salvation Army. Opinions and thoughts do not reflect all Salvationists.]
The first thing we need to do is to describe what is Fair Trade. Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the Global South.
Fair Trade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fair trade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
Fair trade is based on Christian values.
The United Nations has a set of goals called the Sustainable Developmental Goals. It is the 2030 Agenda. The United Nations is hoping that by 2030 we, as a global community, can achieve the goals for the betterment of people around the world.
Here are some of the goals which Fair Trade is helping to achieve the SDGs.
Goal 1: End Poverty and all its forms everywhere.
The overall mission of fair trade is to create opportunities for economically and social marginalized producers and to build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations.
Goals 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Fair trade businesses build long-term relationships that empower workers and do not discriminate based on gender race, national origin, religion, casts disability.
Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Fair Trade supports fair wages, prompt payment, and safe and empowering working conditions for all throughout the trading chain, which encourages the growth of micro, small and medium sized enterprises.
Goal 10: Reduce inequality within & among countries.
Fair Trade businesses work with marginalized farmer and artisans and assist in capacity-building which contributes to income growth in developing countries and for those at the boom of the pyramid.
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.
Fair Trade businesses practice and encourage the responsible stewardship of resources and environmentally sustainable practices – reducing, reusing, reclaiming and recycling materials wherever possible.
Fair Trade matters for the sake of our world. It matters for Christianity, and here are four reasons why all Christians should support Fair Trade.
- We are opposed to exploited labor – the exploitation of labor in developing nations reduces the costs for Western nations and the price that is paid. A large portion of clothing manufacturers and producers of other items, aim to pay people the smallest amount possible. This is a practice that Christians should oppose.
- The Bible advocates for justice and equality – we are to live the principles of justice. We should buy products that empower women. Learn to do good by understanding the implications of our purchases. If we believe in equality, then we should back that with our lifestyles.
- Fair Trade creates jobs for the impoverished – if done right Fair Trade is one way to change lives through business. We can purchase products that help others overcome poverty. It also creates sustainable and profitable jobs and give us the opportunity to enjoy quality products.
- We can create a Jesus economy – Fair Trade is simply asking that we respect people and give them the dignity by paying them what they are worth. It represents life transformation for impoverished artisans and a chance for their dreams to become real and their families can enjoy a real source of income.
May we seek to do the actions of Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Major Victoria Edmonds
I am the Salvation Army Senior Representative to the United Nations, representing the International Salvation Army. I am an Indigenous Tuscarora Native American. A Salvation Army Officer of 33 years, working with the International Social Justice Commission since 2007 at its very beginning. It is a honor to serve.