Sheffield churches champion fairly-traded products as Fairtrade turns 25
It has been 25 years since the first Fairtrade certified products hit the shelves in the UK and Sheffield Methodist District will continue to do its part in campaigning the importance of fair trade to the public.
Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in October, Fairtrade Foundation was established to give farmers in developing countries better trading conditions with a fair price for their goods while improving social and environmental standards.
And its District Fairtrade Group is actively engaging with the Sheffield Methodist District to promote Fairtrade in local churches and to publicise it at District events.
The District covers South Yorkshire, and parts of North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire.
As one of the earliest advocates of Fairtrade since 1979, retired minister Rev Louise Dawson said: “As Christians, we are committed to working for a more just world and one of the ways we can do this is to promote Fairtrade.
“The Fairtrade Foundation, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this October, is the UK arm of an international movement which tries to ensure that the people who work to grow crops such as cotton, tea, coffee, chocolate, bananas and sugar, or who make craft goods and garments, are paid a fair price.
“We want people to choose to buy fairly-traded products whenever possible.”
She said the Group has worked for several years for the Sheffield Methodist District to become a Fairtrade District which they needed to ensure that at least half of the District’s churches had become Fairtrade-friendly and encouraging others to do the same.
“In addition, the District agreed to promote Fairtrade, to serve only Fairtrade tea and coffee at its meetings, to attract media coverage and raise awareness of the issues,” she said adding that the District received its Fairtrade certificate in April 2012.
Rev Dawson said the Group also promotes Fairtrade Fortnight, where they encourage local churches to hold Fairtrade events and provide resources for use in workshop.
“In recent years the Group has highlighted Fairtrade Fortnight through different events in Sheffield city centre, including baking and producing artwork in the Winter Garden and coffee mornings at Zooby’s, a Fairtrade coffee shop in the Winter Garden.
“The Chair of the Methodist District, the Reverend Gill Newton, hosted these events and in recent years welcomed the leaders and representatives of other faith groups and other Christian churches to them,” she said.
And promoting Fairtrade will remain in its agenda for the years to come, so it eventually becomes the norm instead of the exception.
“It is great that Fairtrade products are available in supermarkets, which wasn’t the case when some of us started to promote them.
“We hope that younger people will become passionate about improving the lives of millions of poorer people in the world in as many ways as possible, including through Fairtrade,” she said.