Our new Ethical Buying Guide for churches launched this week, as part of the ECCR’s Money Makes Change programme. Find out more about it here and read on to find out why we think the spending decisions we make as churches have the potential to shape a better world.
Our discipleship is about the whole of our lives. We seek to love God and our neighbours more fully. Our use of money should not be seen as separate from this.
Within local churches, our financial decisions are part of how we participate in God’s mission. We can love others, restore relationships and pursue justice by making thoughtful decisions with our purchasing, as we do with our giving.
What does this look like in practice? Here are 5 commitments we can make with our church spending. To explore these and other issues with your church, download our new Ethical Buying Guide for churches.
- We care for creation
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
As Ethical Consumer’s recent climate gap report shows, consumers, governments and companies need to work together to address the climate crisis, and we are not moving fast enough.
What is the role of churches in this? By reducing what we buy, minimising food waste and plastic packaging, and choosing to buy from companies that are taking action on cutting their carbon emissions, we can start to align our spending with our calling to care for creation.
- We buy from businesses that do good
Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)
We can help shape a better world by choosing to buy from businesses that have a clear social and environmental mission. We can look for companies that give back to society and those that provide good, well-paid jobs in our local communities.
- We stand up for fair wages and working conditions
Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. (James 5:4)
Many of the products we buy may be produced by people trapped in modern slavery or by workers who are not paid a fair wage. However, there are steps we can take to stand in solidarity with those who grow or make the things we buy.
Ask companies what they are doing to end modern slavery in their supply chains and look for independent accreditation like the FAIRTRADE Mark.
- We champion tax justice
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6.10)
Tax can be used to create a fairer, greener society, providing revenue for the things we all need, like education, health and housing. Yet today’s tax system fails to deliver, at both national and global level. Weak regulations mean it is still too easy for large companies to avoid paying their fair share.
- We help build a bigger movement for change
By fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute…we can, to a certain extent, change the world. Dorothy Day
Making more ethical decisions with our church buying will never be enough on its own to address the root causes of inequality or the threat of the climate crisis, but it can be part of our commitment to a fairer world and a more hopeful future.
One important role that churches can play is to be movement builders. This might be through educating our congregations about ethical consumer choices or reaching out to other churches and organisations to encourage them to take action with their purchasing too.
- Inspired to take action? Download the Ethical Buying Guide for churches and let us know how you use it.
- Do you already have an ethical purchasing policy? Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d be happy to share it with us. We’d like to have more examples and case studies to inspire other churches to take action.