Lynne Hybels

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Offering Hope Through Fair Trade


Olive oil produced in a rural Palestinian village that has been rocked by conflict guarantees marginalized men and women the stable income they deserve. Chocolate bars produced in West Africa by the first farmer-owned chocolate company in the world lifts independent farmers out of poverty. Coffee grown and processed in Uganda by a cooperative made up of Christian, Muslim and Jewish farmers promotes peace while it enhances the local economy. Sugar and rice grown and processed in the Philippines uses methods that guarantee small producers a fair wage. Jewelry and purses made by women rescued from the sex trade protects the freedom and the future of these vulnerable women. Body care products made of organic shea butter empower and enrich a community in Togo, West Africa.

These are just a few of the high quality products offered by Trade As One, a fair trade company that connects American consumers with hardworking men and women throughout the world who had previously been denied a fair, living wage. Several years ago I met Trade As One founder, Nathan George, and became convinced that fair trade could become a vital part of the missional activity of American Christians. Since then, Trade As One has partnered with Willow Creek Community Church, allowing members of our congregation to use their buying power to impact the economic development of some of the most vulnerable people in the world. We’ve discovered that supporting a market that promotes dignified job creation is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty and bring about systemic change.

On Thursday, May 13, Nathan and I, along with author, pastor and teacher, Nancy Ortberg, will offer a webinar about how fair trade can be incorporated into the global ministries of American churches. For additional information about the webinar or to sign up, go to http://tradeasone.com/churches/webinar. You can check out the full range of Trade As One products at http://www.tradeasone.com.

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