Welcome Baptist Church in Heathfield, East Sussex has become the nation‚Äôs 400th ‚ÄòFairtrade Church‚Äô.
The scheme, supported by aid agency Tearfund, encourages churches throughout the country to serve only Fairtrade products at all church events.
Welcome Baptist Church committed to achieving the ‚ÄòFairtrade Church‚Äô status after hearing of the problems faced by small-scale farmers in developing countries caused by unfair terms of trade.
Alison Wright, a congregation member says, ‚ÄúSome people were surprised to learn of the difference that buying Fairtrade products makes to the farmers and just how many products with the Fairtrade Mark are now available in supermarkets. It‚Äôs posed quite a challenge to our shopping habits. We‚Äôre even thinking of switching over to Fairtrade wine for our communion!‚Äù
By becoming a ‚ÄòFairtrade Church‚Äô, the congregation of Welcome Baptist Church have committed to only use Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar at their services, to look to using other Fairtrade products, such as biscuits and fruit juice at events organised by the church, and to raise awareness during Fairtrade Fortnight, which this year runs from 26th February-11th March.
Vanda Adkins, Tearfund‚Äôs Trade Campaigner says, ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre delighted that Welcome Baptist Church has committed to become a ‚ÄòFairtrade church‚Äô. Welcome Baptist Church is not only helping to support individual producers by buying Fairtrade goods, but through their purchasing power they are also helping to influence what our supermarkets and high street shops stock. Buying ethically encourages shops to behave ethically and is a great way of ensuring lives in some of the world‚Äôs poorest countries are improved‚Äù.
Buying one of the 1,500 products that carry the Fairtrade Mark guarantees that producers receive a fair price for their products, as well as ensuring that the product is produced in safe working conditions. Products include coffee, tea, chocolate, biscuits, flowers, wine, rice, sugar, honey, fruit juice and fresh fruit.
Sales of products carrying the Fairtrade Mark have been increasing by 40% every year in the UK, giving hundreds of thousands of producers in developing countries the chance to build a better future.
Peruvian coffee farmer and mother of four Maridelsa Contrina Vera said, "I‚Äôd like to encourage our friends in the UK to carry on buying Fairtrade coffee for us to be able to live a better life. We know that the Fairtrade market is for small scale producers like us."
Today, more than five million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 58 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.