Why this year is also ideal to vote for...
getting Fairly shirty with the clergy  

Fairtrade Place of Worship logo

   as part of saying...



A timely page of Just1 nudges, reminders & suggestions

to help Catholic & other parishes...


get, refresh or renew the Places of Worship Award during 2024

be a good example of applied synodality by Mass approval

acclaim 30 years of Fairtrade in the September 2024 Fortnight

measure up clergy for a gift of a Fairtrade cotton clerical shirt!

  Oh, and congregations might like to sing the Just1 Big Ben Song
towards your UK Member of Parliament, with encores in 2025...
(click on the pic to get the idea)
Welcome, wherever you're coming from  

We're All For Fairtrade
Briefing & Talk PDF

As a plain parishioner and very long-time UK user and enthuser, I know support for Fairtrade is an easily-achieved action in tune with Catholic social teaching. It's one worldwide answer to the call below - seen in the Synthesis Report for the Synod on Synodality in Rome October 2023.

“The Church's social doctrine is a too little-known resource. This needs to be addressed. Local churches are invited not only to make its contents better known but to foster its reception through practices that put its inspiration into action… There can be no synodality without an ecumenical dimension.”

Well, many UK churches have been doing that for years - and worldwide, too.

Inspiration into action was what drove CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Traidcraft, the World Development Movement and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes to found the UK Fairtrade movement in 1992.  “Churches, mosques, synagogues, and other places of worship across the UK have been at the heart of the success of Fairtrade – putting faith into action by using and promoting Fairtrade products and leading public conversation about justice for the farmers and workers we rely on", says the Fairtrade Foundation.


"Fairtrade is more than just a label or a brand: we are an international movement with deep roots in advocacy and campaigning, and deep roots in farming communities worldwide. In the UK, we aim to use our platform to amplify the voices of farmers and workers, supporting them to protect their rights, land, health and future livelihoods."

In September 2024, there’ll be a special Fairtrade Fortnight to celebrate the 30 years since the first products were certified.  The Foundation has 30 ways to celebrate 30 years. And it’s an ideal opportunity for parishes to emulate the thousands of towns, schools, universities and businesses showing the familiar sign of social justice solidarity – by applying for or renewing a Places of Worship Award. En masse, at Mass.


So here are four timely nudges that may be of help to pastoral committees, Justice & Peace teams and others in parishes and dioceses across the UK - and beyond. And there's also a simple briefing-and-talk PDF ready to use (left).



Hugh Gibbons
Conductor of Just1
is at

with other activities at


Hugh was on the working party that helped Portsmouth become the second Catholic Fairtrade diocese in 2006.

The Fairtrade Foundation has a great range of fine resources, and suggestions and examples for parishes and schools.
Click here for all at
Fairtrade Foundation

For word on the special Fairtrade Fortnight 12-22 September 2024
click here

This page u
pdated on
19 March 2024



Nudge #1
Get, renew or refresh the Fairtrade Places of Worship Award


Fairtrade Place of Worship logo

The Award is easy to get - not a hard financial burden or tough administrative call.  Registration is free, and takes a few minutes on-line to send in some basic information. It's a quick process once you have parishwide approval - and you can tell everyone you've sent the form off.


The Fairtrade Foundation application briefing point is here, and caters for both first-time applications and those wanting to refresh and renew their commitment.

Parishes just have to commit to three simple aspects of support:

  • Use Fairtrade products wherever possible (at least  tea, coffee and sugar). So if you have parish meetings or social events, buy in some Fairtrade beforehand - or serve it regularly, eg after Mass. And if parishioners like to donate tea, coffee or sugar, suggest that they make it Fairtrade.

  • Share information about FairTrade products with the wider congregation. Remind them they can buy over 6000 products with the Fairtrade mark in all sorts and sizes of retail outlets selling coffeecocoasugartea, cold drinks and juice, honeycottonwine, clothing, chocolateflowers, beauty and wellness products spices, gold, bananas – and shirts for clergy! And tell them that Fairtrade appeal continues to grow strongly despite pressure on family budgets. In the 2022 Fairtrade Report, sales were up 14%.  ·         

  • Integrate  Fairtrade into the life of the place of worship, at Fairtrade Fortnight or other times of the year. One simple way to do that is to display the Fairtrade sign prominently on the parish website and in weekly newsletters and bulletins. It's a powerful reminder of why people should feel good about themselves, the church, the thousands of other Fairtrade communities, and the millions of citizens in the UK and around the world supporting or benefitting from the Fairtrade spirit.


Nudge #2
Get Mass approval - to show synodality


Expanding the Role of Public Administration: From Citizen Participation ...

It's not just a Place of Worship Award - it's very much about all the people being all for Fairtrade. Any new or recommitment application benefits from having widespread approval.

So the idea of applying for the Award might be steered by, for example, Parish Pastoral Committee or Justice & Peace team. But a key element is that it should have the warm and open support of the great majority of parishioners. (I've been in a parish where only the priest and secretary knew of certification...)

An easy way to get mass approval is with a show of hands when most parishioners are all gathered in one place - at Mass. This not only ensures widespread OK, but is fun, different, worthwhile, and definitely a form of applied mini-synodality.

There's a brief and suggested sort of talk in the briefing PDF on the left.

Some suggestions for presenters?

  • Use a big logo or other large prop - an inflatable banana works pretty well.

  • Engage with the congregation - eg ask for their blessing in a parish commitment

  • Ask the priest or altar servers to act as tellers for the voting - NB the job is to assess approval, not count every single vote

  • A show of hands is good - but a loud Aye or No will do too

NB A presenter might be from your parish, or invited from a nearby Fairtrade Place of Worship - it's worth finding out who that might be, maybe through local Fairtrade associations or Churches Together.


And consider inviting everyone to send a ringing message to your MP and the government with the Big Ben Fairtrade Song. The tune is the chimes of Big Ben, and the words are: We're/For/Fair/Trade. Four times!

At  www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMVVumQhMNA you can see  the 29-second video of all the pupils at the small St Joseph Catholic Primary in the village of Hurst Green Lancashire singing their support for Fairtrade in a message their MP at Westminster in June 2012.

It's worthwhile following this up with a letter to your MP and maybe the PM - CC local councillors - on why you support Fairtrade, and why caring for the poor should be a government priority. Signed by as many people as possible.

NB No 10 Downing Street has Fairtrade status, and both the Houses of Parliament serve Fairtrade products - so you have something in common.


Nudge #3
Display your Fairtrade status as much as possible


The Fairtrade logo alone is an instant and powerful message about the ethos and values of a parish - to its parishioners and families, visitors long- or short-term, newcomers, returners, local schools, councils and retail outlets, and other places of worship around.  So if you're all for Fairtrade, show the logo constantly and prominently.


Fairtrade is a superbrand. A pioneer of ethical labelling, Fairtrade remains a leading and trustworthy champion for social and climate justice, even as ethical certification labels proliferate the market. Consumer research in late 2022 showed that 9 in 10 UK consumers are aware of the Fairtrade Mark (higher than all other ethical labels), while 8 in 10 consumers trust it. Nilufar Verjee, Director of Public Engagement at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: ‘We are delighted to have received 2022/2023 Superbrand status: this is a powerful benchmark of Fairtrade Foundation’s value in the UK and the depth of our public support..."


Yet surprisingly few Catholic parish or diocesan websites show the symbol or refer to Fairtrade status. So if you get, refresh or renew the Place of Worship Award, think on gettiing your ethos seen by as many people as possible - again and again.


Where to display the Fairtrade icon?

  • on the parish, pastoral area or other website

  • in simple note weekly in all newsletters or bulletins. "We are a Fairtrade church" says a lot in a little space.

  • and if you have coffee after Mass, announcing "Fairtrade refreshments are being served in the hall" takes only a couple of seconds to remind hundreds of people - 50+ times a year

  • weather-resistant DIY sign outside the church, to be seen by passers-by: on foot, cycling, in a car or bus. 


On website of St Alban's Church Macclesfield in March 2024

On website of Pope Paul Catholic Primary School in Potters Bar in March 2024

Here are some parishes putting the logo to good use, seen in March 2024...


seen on the website of St Barnabas in Purley, Surrey

The website of this very active 3-church parish says: "Fair Trade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of people who grow the things we love. Through better prices, decent working conditions, and a fair deal for farmers and workers in developing  countries."

At St Francis of Assisi church in South Ascot, the aisles were decorated with cloth triangles showing the Fairtrade symbol - made by every one the 200+ pupils at the primary school next door, and on display from Fairtrade Fortnight in February till past Easter.


And here's an ecumemenical DIY outdoor sign Hugh Gibbons made to go 24/7 on the hi-vis Railings Gallery outside a town-centre church - St Joseph's in Bracknell - glimpsed by hundreds of thousands of passers-by. And yes, that's Cardinal Vincent Nichols waving in support. 



NB Greggs proudly shows its Fairtrade ethos hundreds of thousands of times a day


The Greggs Pledge has ten commitments based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: “to help people, protect the planet and work with our partners to change the world for the better. Such as? Providing every school day a free meal for 50,000+ UK children in Breakfast Clubs. Donating 1,000+ tonnes of food a year to 1,200+ charity partners for redistribution to people in need.

And supporting Fairtrade. Since 2006, Greggs have spent millions on paying fair prices to producers – starting with coffee, now right across the drinks range. So the familiar Fairtrade symbol is on view to the hundreds of people served at each of their 2600+ outlets every day - at the counter, with a message on the cups.


Nudge #4
Present your clergy with a Fairtrade cotton shirt

Free Thank You Clipart, Download Free Thank You Clipart png images ...

See related image detail. Lidl claims UK supermarket first with all store uniforms made from ...

Any time you're thinking of imaginative gift for a priest or deacon,  how about getting them a Fairtrade cotton clerical shirt?


And presenting it at Mass - during Fairtrade Fortnight maybe - so everyone can see a practical side of being a Fairtrade parish, and a good talking point all round.


There's a range of UK suppliers such as www.fairtradeclergyshirts.co.uk that you can find on Google and other search engines. The shirts come in a variety of styles and sizes - from XS to XXL. (And for those with an eye on Synodal developments in years to come maybe, they're available for women clergy too.)

This Just1 suggestion came from hearing of a LIdl GB action. Lidl GB has long been big Fairtrade supporters, and today sells over 100 certified products throughout the year - from bananas from Colombia, tea picked in Kenya, to cocoa grown in Cote d'Ivoire. And in 2022 Lidl GB announced it would be be the first UK retailer to convert all its cotton staff uniforms to Fairtrade, which it described as the independent, third-party certification that partners with farmers and workers to negotiate better prices, decent working conditions, and a fairer deal overall. It said, "The uniform range is being rolled out across all stores, with a commitment to purchase 330,000 shirts, trousers, polo tops and chinos, and will be worn by the retailer’s 22,000 store colleagues. This equates to a volume of 175 metric tonnes of Fairtrade certified cotton, benefitting farmers in India."


There are other Fairtrade products for churches, of course.

Pilgrim Shop have Fairtrade holding crosses made in Bethlehem. "These crosses make wonderful gifts and prayer aids. This cross will fit easily into a pocket or purse. Our Olive Wood gifts are made by a small family business based in Bethlehem. They use skilled craftsmen to carve and shape the natural Olive tree wood into many beautiful products including Nativity sets, Praying Hands and many other devotional items."

Pilgrim Shop also have a range of church altar linens made with 100% Fairtrade cotton. That's a baptismal towel with the Holy Spirit design.

Fairtrade Communion wine is very popular for parishes of different denominations. A leading supplier is Poterion, but Google has others for you to choose.


Thanks for reading this far - and best wishes for any Fairtrade Award you're applying for, and for all the support you give.

Hugh Gibbons
Conductor of Just1

E hughgibbons@just1.org.uk
W www.just1.org.uk and

  Back to top of page