The Melbourne Archdiocese Office for Justice and Peace and Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans (ACRATH) hosted a Fairtrade Fortnight event yesterday to raise awareness about modern-day slavery. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
Fairtrade Australia runs the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign every August to highlight ethical issues in the supply chains of many industries – including tea, coffee and chocolate – to show that modern slavery not only persists but thrives in the 21st century.
The staff of the Archdiocese gathered to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee bearing the Fairtrade trademark – goods that are all easily accessible from a nearby supermarket.
“Fairtrade is a trademark which guarantees that the product hasn’t used modern slavery,” said Mark Clarke, executive officer from the Office for Justice and Peace.
Products bearing the UTZ certification and Rainforest Alliance logos similarly ensure ethically-produced products.
“We have a working group within the Archdiocese called the Modern Slavery Taskforce,” Mr Clarke said.
“We’re trying to eliminate the scourge of modern slavery right throughout these five dioceses: schools, hospitals, charitable organisations and parishes. And it begins with something really simple like tea and coffee.
“If it means paying an extra dollar to make sure that children are in school, or they're are not being forced into bonded labour or, worse still, becoming child soldiers, let’s do it.”
The Office for Justice and Peace and ACRATH are founding members of the Victoria-Tasmania Catholic Modern Slavery Taskforce, which includes all four Victorian dioceses and the Hobart Archdiocese. The taskforce aims to ensure that policies, practices and procurements of the member dioceses are free from modern slavery.
Christine Carolan, National Executive Officer of ACRATH said: “Since 2008, we have witnessed an incredible success in moving chocolate companies towards producing only ethically sourced chocolate products.” She explained that Fairtrade premiums were responsible for a new school in Ethiopia that can educate 800 children.
“People in the developing world don’t want charity,” Mr Clarke added. “They want justice. They don’t want us sending money. They simply want us to pay a fair price for the goods they are willing and able to produce.
“As Pope Francis reminds us, ‘every person ought to have the awareness that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply an economic – act’.”
The Archdiocese of Melbourne marks Fairtrade Fortnight (Melbourne Catholic)