So the end of Fairtrade Fortnight and we marked it in our service this morning thinking of some of the complex issues of the freedom and responsibility we have as stewards of God's creation. Everyone had a Fairtrade banana - one of which is counted in the Going Bananas total to which our local Co-op were contributing numbers from sales - and some leaflets; badges were optional - several went. We used Genesis 1 and Luke 4 (Nazareth manifesto) to inspire us to think about the creation that God declared 'bloomin' marvellous' (in my vernacular translation of Genesis) and what it means for us to 'rule over it' justly.
There are of course some glib, easy answers - but the issues are actually very complex. What about British farmers and growers? Shop assistants on zero hours contracts and paid just over minimum wage? The hidden costs of items sold at 3 for 2 or B.O.G.O.F.? The balance of ethical priorities - Fairtrade, Rain Forest Alliance, organic, farm assured, free range, dolphin friendly etc etc? Is it right to fly in roses from Kenya even if they are Fairtrade when the carbon footprint is huge? Is it right that children in Pakistan have to work to support their families?
We can't solve it all in one day but we can do something. Me? I will fill in the postcard asking a shop to stock more (in this case, any) Fairtrade products and hand it in at my corner shop. I will encourage my church to (finally) register itself as a Fairtrade Church. I will continue to wrestle with the complex issues and to wonder what happens to those employed in unfair-trade when I shift brand to one that is certified Fairtrade.