Monday, 4 January 2016

Fair Trade profits

We’ve been able to give away just over £1000 from our Fair Trade activities in 2015.  For the avoidance of doubt, I ought rapidly to define ‘we’ as being my wife, who usually only appears in this Blog by stepping into a picture often simply accidently thus and thus and then even, if you look carefully, thus.

One part of the activity is running a monthly Traidcraft stall at the morning service at each of the two churches which have such a service.  £1914 has been spent at these stalls in the year. 

This is obviously good for the producers who have an additional small outlet for their goods.  But it has also been important for the awareness which it has raised.  So we have achieved the status of being a Fair Trade parish by running these stalls, promoting the annual Fair Trade Fortnight and making sure the refreshments we serve in church are all fairly traded.  And the knock on effect is that more people look out for the Fair Trade logo when they shop elsewhere. 

But we have also made know Traidcraft’s appeal this year for people to shop through it and thus enable it to fund projects in its producers’ villages and towns.  It appears that Traidcraft has been too successful in getting people buying fairly traded goods in supermarkets so its own income had actually fallen.

Anyway, the set small sellers' margin, those who said ‘keep the change’, and those who bought home-made jam (with fruit from our garden and other ingredients fairly traded) together produced a small profit of £325 which is just being paid across as a donation to the two churches.

The other part of the activity has been to import olive wood products direct from Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans. The skill of ordering and paying direct and then navigating goods through customs was developed with one small consignment and then put into practice with a second much larger one. 

There was a lot of work pricing and boxing up enough for a church stall so that members of the North East Lincolnshire Churches Together Justice and Peace Group could take these out to a number of churches.  An astonishing £2350 was been spent at these stalls in a few weeks.

Again, providing the producers with an additional small outlet for their goods has been an obvious good.  But in this case the sellers' mark up has been determined ourselves and has averaged 30% on these sales.  So we have had a total £720 to divide between two Bethlehem charities – Caritas Baby Hospital (where, among others, some of the victims of the bombing of Gaza have been treated) and the Holy Land Trust.  In effect, we have done what Traidcraft does: sending the premium back into the community from which the goods emerged rather than keeping it in the pockets of those who control the supply chain.

Next we will work on involving the parish's Youth Group and others in one of the Big Breakfasts for this year's Fair Trade Fortnight 29th February to 13th March.

The picture is of our own Christmas tree.

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