The rise of Fairtrade in the 1990s made many people and faith groups far more aware of the ethical impact of the pound in their pocket. But there is nothing new about using your money to support change in society. Two hundred years earlier, opponents of slavery boycotted sugar in protest against the transatlantic slave trade. Now, in an age in which corporations are some of the world’s most powerful institutions, our purchasing power – as individuals, churches or communities – cannot be ignored.
Ethical and faith-based decisions on spending can be messy and complicated. Different people have different ethical concerns, ranging from animal rights and sustainability to decent wages and corporate power.