Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities > About Catholic Higher Ed > Catholic Social Teaching > Fair Trade & Alleviating Poverty
Vision and Voice for Catholic Higher Education      Learn More




"A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being."

— Pope Francis

Fair Trade and Alleviating Poverty

ACCU works to build collaborative networks across Catholic higher education to strive for the eradication of poverty and promotion of fair trade. These objectives incorporate Catholic Social Teaching (CST), which harmonizes global issues with every person's right to life. CST holds that "our commitment to the value of each human life should be reflected in both individual choices and in the policies and structures of society."

Fair Trade

For Catholic colleges and universities, fair trade presents an opportunity to respond to the urgent call to promote social justice, the dignity of work, and the wider sharing of resources and development.

ACCU works to ensure the dignity of work and a commitment to economic justice by promoting fair trade values, products, and practices. Fair trade seeks to promote greater equity in the international trading system by securing rights, better working conditions, and sustainable practices for often-marginalized producers and workers.


Poverty Relief

ACCU and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty organization of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are partnering to facilitate resource exchanges between colleges and universities and CCHD staff in local dioceses. Campuses can benefit from the partnership in many ways:

  • Increased awareness of needs and issues facing the surrounding community and possible avenues for response
  • Educational resources for student reflection on poverty and Catholic Social Teaching
  • Speakers who can address poverty, faith, and social action
  • Connections with CCHD-funded groups that offer sites for volunteering and service learning

Download a packet with more information about campus partnership benefits.



Fair Trade Assistance

Fair Trade and Catholic Higher Education highlights how ACCU member institutions engage with the fair trade movement.

Other Resources

Catholics Confront Global Poverty
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services call on 1 million Catholics in the United States to confront global poverty.

One Human Family, Food For All Campaign
Project launched by the Catholic humanitarian aid network Caritas to raise awareness of the hunger crises worldwide.

Why Shop Ethically?
Catholic Relief Services resource includes ethical trade partners, videos print material, and banner ads for your campus.

Fair Trade Campaigns
Toolkits, case studies, and more help your institution achieve fair trade status.

Ignatian Solidarity Network
Additional fair trade information, links to vendors, and more.