I was recently pointed to an organization called “Trade as One.” They partner with churches and individuals to direct consumer spending toward making more Fair Trade purchases on everyday items. Not a particularly new or unique concept. They have a vetting process for the products they sell which ensures the buyer that in addition to making a Fair Trade purchase, he or she is also helping to provide a sustainable wage for individuals in the most abject poverty. From their website:
[Trade as One] uses the power of consumer dollars, not donations, to bring jobs and holistic care to some of the most vulnerable people in the world. By choosing to substitute goods made by missional businesses for ones traditionally bought in the shopping mall, people in America can use their consumer dollars to bring hope and dignity to thousands of families.
I was particularly intrigued by a campaign they run near the holidays called “Just One.” The idea is to encourage people to make at least one of their holiday gift purchases a Fair Trade item. They claim that if everyone who attends church in the US made just one Fair Trade purchase that would be enough to lift one million families out of poverty for an entire year. To that end, they’ve partnered with churches like Willow Creek, North Point Community, and Menlo Park Presbyterian to mobilize their congregations to make more Fair Trade purchases. Watch this two-minute video on how Trade as One partners with churches:
Did you catch that bit in the middle? The organization’s founder, Nathan George, says,
[The church] has enormous potential to speak prophetically to the marketplace and model a redemptive way our money can be spent.