A couple of years ago my housemate started to buy fair trade and organic products. Doing so, he sparked heated debate among our friends. Why pay more for the same product if you don’t have to?
Paying more without having to felt awkward to me too. Yet, if buying the regular, cheaper product meant exploiting someone else or the environment, wouldn’t paying more be the right thing to do?
For some reason, doing “the right thing” has been something I have cared about for as long as I can remember. As a student, stories about change-makers would get me on fire. Honestly, I saw a lot of opportunities to bring change – yet I never felt I had the means to make a difference.
Connecting the dots
This started to change as faith began to play a role in my life. A few years ago, I stumbled across a Bible passage that helped me connect the dots between my faith and this “wanting to do good,” this craving for justice.
In this passage, God is on a journey with a group of people. They do everything in their power to please him, but he doesn’t hear them. So they ask God, “why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?”
They are seriously trying… not eating (fasting) and humbling themselves. If God were a strict, white-bearded old man who punishes when you don’t keep the rules, it makes perfect sense for them to try so hard.
But as I read on, I discovered God doesn’t care about their attempts to please him. He tells them, “in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.”
Truth be told, reading this blew my mind. God is upset not because they don’t stick to rules they thought God had imposed on them, but because they oppressed their workers while pretending to be holier than thou.
“In a globalized world, how can I be sure I don’t oppress the people and planet producing my food?”
Back to the 21st century. In a globalized world where I don’t see who works for the food I buy in the supermarket, how can I be sure I don’t pretend everything’s alright when maybe it’s not? How can I be sure I don’t oppress “my” workers – the people who work for my food?
Why I care
I care, because I think that God cares for the people in the supply chain. In my supply chain. And while diving into the subject, the planet seems so intricately connected to the people, I thought it better not to separate the two.
You may care about the people and planet in your supply chain for vastly different reasons, and I’m eager to learn what those are as we go!
Will you join me on my journey?