Resolution in Support of Fair Trade Practices

Posted on: Monday May 21, 2012


“And when you sell something to your fellow, or buy from the hand of your fellow, don't oppress each other” (Leviticus 25:14).

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel teaches, “To us a single act of injustice – cheating in business, exploitation of the poor—is slight; to the prophets, a disaster … to them, it is a catastrophe, a threat to the world.” (The Prophets, p. 4).

The highest level of tzedakah is for a person to assist those in need to become self-sufficient (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah 10:7-14).


Whereas Fair Trade is a global movement to alleviate poverty in farming communities around the world in ways that are socially and environmentally sustainable;

Whereas Fair Trade is a movement that works with producers to set a minimum price for their goods, provide technical support, and deliver economic development aid in the poorest countries in the world; 

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly has over many decades adopted resolutions in support of environmental conservation, better working conditions and poverty relief;

Whereas Fair Trade requires freedom of association and safe working conditions, and prohibits child labor, forced labor and discrimination;

Whereas a little extra money paid at the store will allow farmers and farm workers to invest in life-changing projects ranging from clean drinking water, education and health care services to housing, reforestation and organic certification, all of which benefit entire communities; and

Whereas Fair Trade encourages farmers to take a long-term approach to agriculture, embracing sustainable practices that conserve natural resources. 

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members to educate their communities about Fair Trade;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members to have their congregations, schools, camps, Hillels, JCCs and other institutions endorse and advocate Fair Trade, and purchase Fair Trade goods, when feasible, both individually and in their communities;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members to contact their elected and appointed officials to advocate for Fair Trade practices; and

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly use Fair Trade goods when feasible.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, May, 2012