Fair Trade and Religion
Religion played an important role in the beginning of the Fair Trade movement in the 1940s. Church funded organisations such as Ten Thousand Villages and SERRV International were the first ones to develop fair trade supply chains in developing countries. They mainly sold handicrafts in churches or fairs.
The movement gained momentum in the 1960s in Europe, where students supported fair trade as an effective solution to the fundamental flaws in the traditional business models. The slogan at the time, “Trade not Aid”, gained international recognition. British NGO Oxfam started selling handicrafts in Oxfam stores in the UK. Fair trade movement started to break away from its religious ties to a movement of its own right.
Some of our producer partners were started by religious groups. For example, Rajana is a Cambodian Fair Trade organisation started by as a project by a UK charity called Southeast Asian Outreach.
Oz Fair Trade is operated out of empathy for humanity. Founder Qinnie Wang is not religious, but she deeply respects religious values and appreciates the role religion has played in the Fair Trade movement.