Photo By: Stephanie Bosse
“Every economic…action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one’s own human potential.”
Our faith calls us to live out our Gospel values on a daily basis. The Catholic social teaching principles of respecting the dignity of work and caring for the poor are key ways in which we can do this. Through fair trade and ethical purchasing, we can use our economic power to contribute to the common good and live out these values.
A Commitment to Building Relationships
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.
We at CRS believe that fair trade, at its heart, is about building respectful, enduring relationships. Looking through a wider lens, this embodies a comprehensive set of criteria, including, at a minimum, the following commitments:
- Paying a fair wage in the local context
- Offering employees opportunities for advancement
- Providing equal employment opportunities for all people, particularly the most disadvantaged
- Caring for God’s creation by engaging in environmentally sustainable practices
- Being open to public accountability
- Building long-term trade relationships
- Providing healthy and safe working conditions within the local context
- Providing financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible
These criteria were drawn from the Fair Trade Federation, a trade association for businesses in the United States and Canada.