Q & R: From Sydney on Fair Trade

Here’s the question (actually a response to one of my recent postings, details included with permission):

Dear Brian,
I just read about your frustration with people’s response to your EMC message – I get it! – More people seemed to miss the point than not but it did deeply impact my life. I just want you to know that your message in that book was one of the single most influential messages that has shaped my life. For once Christianity became relevant & practical on so many more levels to me. Passion ignited.
And most of all I realised everything must change – including me (although it has been a pretty stop/start rocky road along this journey called change, hehe).
Your message about trade justice is what particularly influenced me – so much so that I began speaking at my church, buying and handing out Fairtrade organic chocolate. This chocolate came along with the message that we have the power to help end poverty through our consumer decisions. And that every day we can vote with our $ for a better world through our product choices. This lead me to my current job…
I met a good lady whilst speaking and I now work for her at her business – at its base the business is called Rise Up but trade as/ house our different brands. Our products are Fairtrade Certified organic, No Sweat Shop, and we offset our carbon emissions caused by the manufacturing process. We also have product lines that we give all of the profit we make from away. This profit goes to the work of formal charity partners including World Vision Australia, Oxfam, Compassion Australia, Opportunity International Australia, Watoto and more.
My favourite brand to work with is our fashion label – ‘they thank you’ – http://www.theythankyou.com.au/ We also do promo products(the blurb line is “inherent in the process of manufacturing products we use in business and everyday life is a significant opportunity to alleviate poverty & help the environment. Doing this with style and excellence is what we call eco-ethical.”), sleepwear, basics, fabrics, etc The base website for our business is http://www.riseup.com.au/ – and our message is “You can change the World by what YOU buy.”
Anyways – I just wanted to say a HUGE thanks as it was your msg in EMC that lead me to change my life and landed me in this role that I feel so privileged to be in. Your message does produce change and it that change can be articulated genuinely and practically. I also read Secret Message of Jesus which also shaped my direction, again – thanks!
Thanks again Brian and I really hope this encourages you!
God Bless,
Andrew Macpherson
Rise Up
Sydney, Australia

Response after the jump …

Thanks, Andrew. As you can imagine, when I got your email, I thought, “This is why I do what I do.” I feel a sense of partnership with readers like you who find creative ways to turn words and ideas into action. We’re all in this together. Keep up the great work, and I hope folks will check into what you’re doing. Maybe we’ll get to meet when I’m in Sydney in October. (Details on my schedule here …)