I don’t think it’s an accident that Fair Trade Fortnight falls during Lent, after all the Fairtrade Foundation was established by CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Traidcraft, the World Development Movement and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. Quite heavy on the Christians then as was the origin of the movement in the ecumenical group Solidaridad.
The principle of paying a fair price for goods instead of the highly reduced prices forced on markets by the buying power of the West has now extended from coffee, where it first originated into clothes, jewellery, make-up and of course many food stuffs other than coffee.
Considering the parable of the labourers which illustrates God’s generosity, ( not really about how you should pay your labourers! Mind you, why not?) the principle of Fair Trade is a no brainer for Christians. How much effort does it really take to buy Cadbury’s or to choose Percol coffee or Clipper Tea? Not much. A few pence more.
As Christians we will be judged by what we do, not by what we say, because it’s what we do that really reflects who we are and how we truly feel. Buying Fair Trade isn’t even a statement any more, it’s a must. You will look ridiculous, and you will make God look ridiculous, if you don’t make such a small effort to treat others fairly and honourably. Now please excuse me, I have a bar of Peruvian Milk Chocolate from M&S demanding that I eat it as a demonstration of the importance of Fair Trade. Ahem…