Fairtrade Status For Ely Diocese and Dreams Of An End To Banana Wars

PUBLISHED: 10:05 01 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 04 May 2010

Ben and Pauline Jupp with the Archbishop of York

Ben and Pauline Jupp with the Archbishop of York

THE Diocese of Ely has gained Fairtrade status and is committed to ensuring disadvantaged farmers and workers, in developing countries, get a better deal. To qualify for the Fairtrade Foundation s official badge of approval, more than half the churches in

THE Diocese of Ely has gained Fairtrade status and is committed to ensuring disadvantaged farmers and workers, in developing countries, get a better deal.

To qualify for the Fairtrade Foundation's official badge of approval, more than half the churches in the diocese had to adopt the official Fairtrade principles.

These make sure that people in the developing world, who grow or make what people in highly industrialised nations buy, get a fair price and fair working conditions.

The Fairtrade Mark guarantees that farmers receive a reasonable and sustainable price for their goods and that their workers are fairly treated and paid. It also ensures that the communities in which they work have decent health care, education, water and sanitation.

Some churches have been supporting Fairtrade for several years. But members of Synod, the main policy-making body of the diocese, voted in 2008 to encourage all its parishes to become Fairtrade churches.

Since then Soham residents, Pauline and Ben Jupp, have been working tirelessly to help achieve this.

"The Fairtrade Mark continues uniquely to provide not only a guaranteed price for the 4,500 products with its endorsement, but also an additional premium," said Fairtrade campaigner Ben Jupp.

"The premium is paid to the original producers, normally a cooperative, who themselves decide how it is used to benefit the local community. It's a different way of trading, but one which holds enormous benefits for producing groups in the developing world who are often impoverished."

More than 160 churches in Cambridgeshire and west Norfolk serve Fairtrade teas, coffee and other products, and many more offer some support.

Local churches are also moving forward on using other Fairtrade products and will be promoting Fairtrade during the next year through events, worship and other activities, whenever possible.

"The current 'banana wars' between some supermarkets, who are not using the Fairtrade Mark and are artificially lowering the price in order to increase market share, are seriously affecting third world producers," said Dr Alan Hargrave, Diocesan Canon Missioner.

"Some have already gone out of business. We are encouraging all our churches to sign on the dotted line and encouraging our congregations to support and campaign for Fairtrade. Our dream is that no one should be exploited."

The announcement was made as the diocese's 900th anniversary celebrations drew to a close.

Pic cap: Pauline and Ben Jupp with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

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