Ethical Trade



“Every economic…action must set about providing each inhabitant of the planet with the minimum wherewithal to live in dignity and freedom, with the possibility of supporting a family, educating children, praising God and developing one’s own human potential.” – Pope Francis


Each of us is called to do our part as consumers to ensure that the economy works for everyone. Pope Benedict XVI
reminds us that, “It is good for people to realize that purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act. Hence the consumer has a specific social responsibility, which goes hand-in-hand with the social responsibility of the enterprise.” (Caritas in Veritate) He goes on to say that our daily consumer roles “can be exercised with respect for moral principles without diminishing the intrinsic economic rationality of the act of purchasing.” Fair Trade creates opportunities for us to respond to this call in a small but significant way every day through the choices we make as consumers. When we make the conscious choice to purchase Fair Trade items, we are putting the values of Catholic social teaching into action, and working to realize our vision of economic justice. The resources below can help you explore how Catholic social teaching relates to fair trade in more detail.



    • Visit Catholic Relief Services Ethical Trade website to learn more about this issue. We recommend CRS because of their comprehensive materials and Catholic Social Teaching educational resources. You can find resources for your parishes here


    • Visit the USCCB’s website on Trade to learn more about this issue (here)
    • Find out your Slavery Footprint (here)
    • Offer fair-trade coffee/tea at donut sales after mass, or other parish events. Include flyers on the tables relating fair trade to Catholic Social Teaching and talked with guests about fair trade.  Sell fair trade coffee as part of the event.
    • For Easter and Halloween sell ethical trade chocolate after Sunday Masses

Shop Ethical Trade: The Power Behind Your Purchase

Contribute to ethical trade by purchasing items with the following logos. You can shop CRS’ catalogue here.

The Fair Trade Federation is the trade association of businesses and organizations in North America fully committed to fair trade. Members are rigorously evaluated for their full commitment to FTF’s Nine PrinciplesExplore Fair Trade Federation Members and their products.

Fairtrade America is the U.S. arm of Fairtrade International. Fairtrade America licenses the FAIRTRADE Mark. The FAIRTRADE Mark is backed by global standards developed through consultation with producers and their trade partners and audited by a rigorous certification system. Farmers and workers are represented on Fairtrade International’s Board of Directors, General Assembly, and Standards Committee. Discover certified Fairtrade products.
Fair Trade USA is a third-party certifier of fair trade products in the United States. Fair Trade
USA standards enable sustainable development and community empowerment benefiting
workers around the world. They audit transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified™ products and their international suppliers, in order to guarantee that the farmers and farm workers were paid a fair, above-market price. Explore Fair Trade Certified products.

Fair for Life is a third-party certification program for social responsibility and fair trade. The Fair for Life program standards cover many agricultural, manufacturing and trading operations otherwise excluded from fair trade certification. They require ethical working conditions throughout the supply chain. Learn more about companies and products certified by Fair for Life.Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Explore certified B Corporations.

Fair Trade Proof was developed by Cooperative Coffees a North American, fair trade coffee roaster cooperative. It is a transparent system for tracing coffee purchases from the farmers to the roasters. Learn more about participating coffee roasters,cooperatives and their contracts.

The Small Producers’ Symbol was launched to build a local and global market that values the identity and the economic, social, cultural and ecological contributions of products from Small Producers’ Organizations. Discover companies buying coffee with the Small Producers Symbol.

The World Fair Trade Organization maintains the Guarantee System. The guarantee system is an assurance mechanism that Fair Trade is implemented in the supply chain and practices of the organization. Members that pass a rigorous 5-step process attain ‘Guaranteed Fair Trade Organization’ status. Explore Guaranteed Fair Trade Organizations.