All settings of the United Church of Christ, including the Covenanted Ministries (Justice and Witness Ministries, Local Church Ministries, Office of General Ministries, and Wider Church Ministries), the Pension Boards, and the United Church Foundation have been urged by General Synod to “give priority in decision-making choices to justice concerns, for example, in not purchasing clothes and other consumer goods produced by sweatshop labor” and to “support policies and practices that promote environmental protection, environmental justice and sustainable, renewable development.”
The UCC Covenanted Ministries, the Pension Boards,and United Church Foundation distribute or sell “identity” or “branded” products to UCC members and friends. Typically, ministry staff carefully ascertain that these items are sourced from firms that employ just and sustainable production practices. However to ensure uniform compliance with the General Synod’s guidance, the Covenanted Ministries, Pension Boards, and United Church Foundation have adopted the following policy to guide our sourcing and purchasing of identity and branded items.
UCC Covenanted Ministries, Pension Boards, and United Church Foundation Policy Regarding the Purchase or Sourcing of Identity and Branded Items Sold or Distributed to UCC Members and Friends
Staff in the national setting of the UCC including the Covenanted Ministries, Pension Boards, and United Church Foundation (UCF), seek to live out the General Synod’s commitment to justice. This includes our purchasing and sourcing of UCC-identity or Covenanted Ministry-, Pension Boards-, or UCF-branded items and apparel that are sold to UCC members and/or distributed at UCC events. Therefore, we commit to carefully screen potential vendors and make sourcing decisions only after thoughtful deliberation.
Items are reasonably determined to be produced under conditions that are fair to workers and environmentally sustainable if they are obtained from sources described by one or more of the following characteristics:
- production plants and facilities in the global South certified by third parties as “sweat-free” and/or “fair-trade” (employing guidelines such as those described by the Fair Trade Resource Network);
- firms whose production and trade practices have been recognized by third parties as “green” or “environmentally sustainable” (employing guidelines such as those set forth by Coop America);
- firms with a workforce represented by a union that is independent of the firm’s management;
- independent artists and artisans;
- firms known by UCC purchasers to be governed by fair labor standards and practices; and/or
- firms with a missional expression consistent with UCC values (for example, intentionally employing workers who are disabled, those with HIV/AIDS, or Liberian refugees in a Ghana camp).