Share stories that show how Fairtrade/Fair Trade can make a difference.
But does it really make a difference? That’s a question that frequently comes up when we do talks about Fair Trade. Our answer is ‘yes’ – from what we’ve seen and from wider-scale work by others, Fair Trade/Fairtrade systems have the potential to improve people’s position economically, environmentally and socially.
That’s not to imply that Fair Trade/Fairtrade systems are always perfect, or that they’re the only way to alleviate poverty and discrimination, or that they’re better than all other ways … but they are a way. And if there is a way in which we can help our global neighbours tackle the injustices they face, it’s worth our participating.
For us, there have been seminal moments:
- listening to Mildred at Eswatini Kitchen explain how their work benefitted some of the most vulnerable people in the Eswatini kingdom;
- seeing the pride in the Eksteenskuil women’s association members as they showed what they were doing to help their community – and coming to understand how Fairtrade was helping them overcome the legacies of racial injustice;
- understanding the difference Fairtrade was making to Dominican farmers’ care of creation.
We have a range of suggestions, including some recent interviews, in the resources section.
Show the connections with other concerns and solutions
The Fairtrade Foundation’s Fairtrade Fortnight resources this year have been brilliant at showing the connections between Fairtrade and climate justice. And the environmental impact of Fairtrade/Fair Trade goes much wider. Both systems place care for the environment at the heart of their standards – and give producers the means that enable them to undertake that care. Take a look at the case studies for examples.
Fairtrade/Fair Trade also tie in with the concerns of local farmers. Years ago, we were part of a meeting bringing together prominent Fair Trade advocates and members of the local food community. We were worried: would they see each other as a threat? To the contrary! Both sides recognised that they were working for the same thing – justice for the producers of the food we eat. Try to connect your work on Fairtrade/Fair Trade with work for local justice, too.
Make it easy to find Fair Trade and ethical goods
Dorothy Day spoke about the importance of communities that make it easy for their members to be good. Making things easy is key. So:
- use our guides to help people find links for online shopping
- talk to your local shops about stocking more Fairtrade/Fair Trade goods
- and make it easy for people to support Fair Trade and ethical shops in your area
Help people support Fair Trade and ethical shops
This actually gets its own section – because it’s really crucial. The Fair Trade and ethical shops in our area perform a vital role in our communities. They’re not just places where you can buy Fair Trade/Fairtrade goods – they’re places of connection, where people learn about Fair Trade and trade justice, meet up with others, support local initiatives, and form caring communities.
Some of them have been able to stay open during the pandemic, because they stock primarily food items. Others have had to shut for the better part of the past year – and are finding times tough.
So if you can help people in your church support them, it’s all to the good!
- Where they are open, encourage people to shop there
- Where they are open or doing click and collect, volunteer to collect and deliver orders
- Where they are delivering or doing mail order, encourage people to use these options
We’d also encourage you to support – and ask others to support – Traidcraft online. It’s weathered its transition successfully: its mission is clarified, its sales are improving, and it’s increasing in size. But the difficulties it faced a few years ago underlined just how vital it is.