Schools called to embrace fair trade

Schools in Melbourne will be encouraged to purchase fair trade coffee (Bigstock)

A call to action has gone out to Catholic schools in Melbourne to consider purchasing fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

Catholic Education Melbourne Director Paul Sharkey, along Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans, made the decision to focus on a few initiatives to begin with to raise awareness of modern slavery and encourage schools to make more informed choices.

“It is easy to think of slavery as a remote issue, either not much to do with Australia or not much to do with our time in history. In fact, the choices we make very much support or discourage slavery and so we need to become much more educated in this area,” Dr Sharkey said.

“The campaign around purchasing fair trade tea and coffee seemed like a good place to start as did the campaign to buy slavery-free chocolate for Easter eggs.”

Dr Sharkey said the campaign will not be an entirely easy feat.

“The first hurdle is for people to realise that slavery has many forms and that it is real and that we are involved in it, at least to some degree, by the clothes we buy, the chocolate we eat and so on,” he said.

“The second hurdle is more practical: Which products should we buy? Are there issues around quality or price? We will be sharing our learning with the sector as we move into this campaign.”

Dr Sharkey said some schools were already making the switch to fair-trade goods before Catholic Education Melbourne embarked on the campaign.

“I know others have been encouraged to get on board because they have seen some merit in the position that we have put to them,” he said.

“My hope is that the campaign gathers good momentum in the coming months.”


Catholic schools called to embrace fair trade (Melbourne Catholic)

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