National Lutheran News

Fair trade coffee idea catching on in high places

ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson, left, and LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick

ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson, left, and LCMS President Gerald Kieschnick

Proctor and Gamble is now selling fair trade coffee; LWR began years ago.

The leaders of the nation’s two largest Lutheran denominations stopped by Lutheran World Relief (LWR) headquarters in Baltimore on the same day.

The Rev. Mark Hanson, who leads the 5.1 million member Evangelical Lu-theran Church in America (ELCA) shared a cup of LWR fair trade coffee with the Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, President of the 2.5 million member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

LWR, which is supported by the ELCA’s World Hunger Appeal and LCMS World Relief, has been sponsoring a fair trade coffee project since 1997 (see “LWR working to give third world farmers fair shake,” page 24, December 2003 Metro Lu-theran).
During 2002 the LWR Coffee Project sold 45 tons of fair trade coffee. “Fair trade” means the coffee is only purchased from growers who participate in a program that guarantees them a fair wage for their labor.

Recently, Procter and Gamble (P&G), the U.S. food producing giant headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, an-nounced they will offer Fair Trade Certified™ coffee through its specialty coffee brand, Millstone.

P&G made their decision after a group of their investors and fair trade advocates prompted them to do so. Included in the group of advocates were members of the Interfaith Fair Trade Initiative, a project of LWR.

P&G says it will increase the volume of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee purchased by Millstone to at least 2-3 million pounds over the next few years.

Already, P&G is offering fair trade coffee to their wholesale accounts, including universities, hotels and hospitals. Consumers can get Millstone fair trade coffee at the Pamp;G website.

Many Lutheran congregations are already offering LWR fair trade coffee and chocolate through booths or tables at their worship centers. To learn how to involve your congregation, go to or call, toll free, 1-800-LWR-LWR-2 (1-800-597-5972).