The only question you have to ask yourself is “Is it fair?” … If it’s not, then you have to ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about it?” If the answer is yes, then you better do it. Otherwise what’s the sense of having a conscience?
~ From “Brewing Justice: Churches apply the Bible to the Bean” by Darren Foster – Park Slope UMC in Brooklyn
As incredible as it may seem, coffee is the second most heavily traded commodity in the world after oil. And although the U.S. represents only about one-twentieth of the world’s population, we drink at least one-fifth of the world’s coffee. Our purchasing decisions can have an impact!
Find out more from this article from the Washington Post called “Pursuing Justice One Cup at a Time: Congregations Embrace Fair-Trade Coffee, Goods.”
Equal Exchange Interfaith Coffee Program
Equal Exchange has an Interfaith Program that makes it easy to purchase Fair Trade products for your congregation. All of their coffees are Fair Trade, but not all are also shade-grown and organic. Choose carefully, and you can serve a cup of justice for the farmers, the birds, and the earth at no additional cost. If your denomination is a partner in this program, your denomination’s aid organization may receive a donation for each purchase you make.
The following faiths and denominations are partners of the Equal Exchange Interfaith Program:
- American Friends Service Committee Coffee Project
- Church of the Brethren Coffee Project
- Lutheran World Relief Coffee Project
- Mennonite Central Committee Coffee Project
- Presbyterian Coffee Project
- United Church of Christ Coffee Project
- United Methodist Committee on Relief Coffee Project
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Coffee Project
Cocoa and tea, too
And don’t leave out people who don’t drink coffee! Fair Trade organic cocoa and Fair Trade organic tea are also available.
Did you know that 43% of cocoa beans come from the Ivory Coast … and that child slavery exists in the cocoa industry? Cocoa workers who receive wages live in poverty. Buying Fair Trade cocoa, also available through the Equal Exchange Interfaith program, ensures that the cocoa was not produced using child labor and that workers receive a fair price for their labor.
The US chocolate industry has agreed to work to end child slavery by 2005, but their plan involves “voluntary standards” and does NOT guarantee fair and stable cocoa prices, which is the only way to end child slavery and exploitation for good. (From Global Exchange)
Organically grown and certified for the highest quality and flavor, Fair Trade teas, also available through the Equal Exchange Interfaith program, guarantee fair wages for workers, improving their opportunities for better health care, housing and education. Selecting Fair Trade tea assures a direct benefit to the livelihood of the tea growing community. (From Global Exchange)