CRS Ethical Trade (formerly Fair Trade)

CRS advances human dignity in developing countries through its support of the ethical trade system of exchange.  CRS promotes the fair exchange of value through CRS Ethical Trade (previously CRS Fair Trade), which joins producer, buyer and consumer in a mutually respectful relationship of economic justice.  Its model is Jesus, Himself a worker who provided for His family by His labor and left us the perfect example of the dignity of work.

Ethical Trade is a system of exchange that puts people first, and that honors and respects producers, consumers, communities and the environment.  It insists that people along every step of the supply chain receive ethical wages, that workers and communities are treated with dignity so growers’ and artisans’ businesses can thrive and grow, and that preserving the environment is made a priority.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What principles of Catholic Social Teaching (or CST) apply this work?

The animating principles of CST are:

  • promoting the human dignity of workers
  • supporting subsidiarity through use of the cooperative system
  • advancing respect for creation by use of sustainable methods of production
  • exercising the preferential option for the poor by elevating human dignity over pure profit as a principle of just trading relationships. 

How does Ethical Trade conform to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST)?

 The parties in Ethical Trade conform to CST in every role throughout the system:

  • producers are helped to form cooperatives to increase their control over the production and sale of their products
  • growers are taught sustainable farming methods
  • buyers buy as directly as possible from producers, paying them a fair price and developing long-term relationships with them
  • consumers commit to supporting human dignity by buying Ethically Traded products. 

How can my parish / school / organization support the Ethical Trade approach to economic justice?  

Ethical Trade products including coffee, tea, chocolate, a variety of foods, and handcrafts are available through CRS, its Ethical Trade partners, and many local stores.  Your parish, school or organization can sell Ethical Trade products for fundraisers, and serve only Ethical Trade coffee at meetings and events. 

Is there someone available to speak to my parish about this program?

We are blessed to have a CRS-trained volunteer Ethical Trade Ambassador in the diocese, Claudia Brown, who is available to support you with information and ideas. To ask Claudia to visit your parish and speak about the program  please contact her via email or by phone at (703) 987-8777.