River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Musings From The Manse

September 2001

Fair Trade?

Dear Friends,

We are all horrified when we discover that something that we have been buying as a normal part of our shopping has been produced in a way which we find unacceptable. The media reported in April how a boat had been stopped off the coast of West Africa suspected of carrying a cargo of slaves bound for the cocoa plantations, which produce the raw materials to feed the developed world's sweet tooth. There were many people who stopped buying some brands of chocolate at that point - in protest as well as out of a feeling of guilt at not knowing what was going on.

The Fairtrade Foundation checks standards by regularly inspecting third world suppliers and checking trade terms. They are then able to issue a FairTrade kite mark, so that shoppers can identify more easily those products which are produced with decent working conditions, fair wages and the sort of business practices which we would expect; rather than out of anything exploitative.

It is difficult to get our heads round all the different issues relating to how the things we buy are produced and marketed. There are however reliable sources for an increasingly wide range of fairly traded goods. It may mean that we have to take a little more time and care over our shopping, but the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.

Faith is not just about a set of beliefs to which we assent, but also about the truths by which we live our lives and make decisions. How we spend our wealth shows what we count important. Look out for the FairTrade symbol and as you spend, buy life for those who have fewer choices.

Revd Jackie Goddard

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.