business fair trade religion shopping

Fair trade starts at home

The Church of England has called for a fairer deal for British farmers today, urging the government to seriously debate the practices of the supermarket sector. The new report ‘Fair trade begins at home’,  issued today by the Churches’ Ethical Advisory Group, criticises supermarkets for a number of exploitative practices. “There is visible inequality within the supply chain”, the report concludes. “Farmers are asking for no more than a fair price for a fair product.”

The report explores a number of common practices used to maximise profits from suppliers, including ‘flexible’ pay structures that reduce the price after delivery, or charging suppliers to run in-store promotions and then not passing on the benefits. It also noted a culture of fear, with suppliers afraid to complain, in case they get blacklisted by the supermarket buyers.

The church has spoken out about the issue for a number of reasons. As well as taking a stand for justice and public ethics, the Church of England finds has considerable investments in the food retail sector. It is also a major landowner, with tenant farmers who supply the supermarkets. As such, it has interests on both sides of the debate and is able to speak from a unique perspective.

We welcome the Church of England’s contribution to this important debate.

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