“We agree to work together with others of goodwill to achieve a better economic system. However, we know that this will be a long journey with an, as yet, unknown outcome. We stand in this light and wait to discern what the new system could be. It is an enormously hard and transformative thing to pray for the emergence of a good economy – isn’t this the Kingdom of God which we pray for?”
Minute 17, Yearly Meeting of Quakers in Britain, 2012
Quakers have always been concerned with economic justice. Early Friends criticised extremes of poverty and wealth in the seventeenth century and Quakers were later at the forefront of the successful campaign to abolish the transatlantic slave trade. Today we work alongside others to campaign for change and stand in solidarity with those most affected by poverty and injustice.
We seek to live out our testimonies of equality, simplicity and peace in our everyday lives and in our campaigns for social and political change. Quakers do not separate life into the personal, the political and the spiritual. As we seek economic change, we know we have much to learn as well as much to offer.
Today, our globalised economy means that decisions in one part of the world can impact on the lives of people thousands of miles away. The chances of peace and sustainability – key Quaker concerns – are intertwined with economic decisions.
Millions of people’s lives are affected by the activities of large multinational companies of the policies of international economic institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation. In the UK, social security cuts are contributing to a sharp rise in food poverty and homelessness. How should Quakers respond?
With the richest 20% of our population now owning over 100 times the wealth of the poorest 20%, Britain is one of the most unequal societies in the industrialised world. This situation presents a fundamental challenge to Quaker testimony. It is also bad for us in social, economic and environmental terms.
Strengthening the Modern Slavery Bill
The Modern Slavery Bill provides a welcome opportunity to improve the UK’s response to modern-day slavery. But we need your help to convince MPs to strengthen the Bill so that it tackles the root causes of exploitation.
Sustainability and New Economy Grants
Since 2010 small grants have been available for Quaker-backed sustainability initiatives. Starting in 2014 these grants have been broadened out to also fund projects that do economics differently. Applications for the grants are now invited.
Fossil fuel disinvestment
Quakers in Britain have agreed that their centrally-held funds should not be invested in fossil fuel extraction companies, and have produced a briefing to provide some ideas for action by individual Friends and meetings.
Join the debate, join the action
We need to share ideas and learn from each other to work for economic justice.
Sign up to receive our free newsletter, Earth & Economy, which explores issues of money, faith and sustainability.
Join in discussions on Quakernomics, a collective blog to share thoughts and questions about economics and faith.
Inequality and welfare cuts
“Action that aims merely to alleviate the worst effects of inequality is not enough... Quakers feel called to act more radically to tackle the underlying causes. This calling requires spiritual struggle and real practical change.”
Meeting for Sufferings, Quakers in Britain, 2014
QPSW is supporting Friends and Meetings exploring practical ways of challenging inequality and offering solidarity to people in poverty.
Your Faith, Your Finance
QPSW has partnered with the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) to produce Your Faith, Your Finance, an exciting new website to help Friends and other Christians learn more about and explore ethical finance issues. The site contains facts, links and case studies on issues ranging from banking and shopping to biblical parables about money.
QPSW is offering to run two hour workshops on ‘your faith your finance’ with Meetings from now until December 2015. The workshops make connections between Quaker testimonies, recent Yearly Meeting decisions and the pound in your pocket.
Materials from the Economic Mythbusters course – run by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) working with QPSW – are now available online.
Delivered by prominent journalists and economists, with input from QPSW, the course was designed to help Quakers become better equipped to understand and challenge a series of economic ‘myths’ which hinder the adoption of new economic ideas and practical reforms that could help to create a more sustainable, just and equal world.
Working with others
QPSW works alongside people of many religions and none to challenge economic injustice and to build alternatives.
We work with Church Action on Poverty in campaigns to close the gap between rich and poor.
We are a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, in which we work with charitable organisations, trades unions and companies to improve conditions for workers.
We are a partner in the Trade Justice Movement and we use this partnership to support your voice against poverty.
We’re a member of the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) which works to research the impact of transnational companies and engage them in dialogue about their ethics and the social and environmental effects of their activities.
Through all these alliances, we are able to direct Friends to information and resources to help them campaign and put pressure on governments, MPs, corporations and other decision-makers.
Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)
Since 1993, the Quaker United Nations Office Geneva (QUNO Geneva) has been working on behalf of Friends, influencing international policy around economic issues such as the social and environmental implications of free trade.
Using well established Quaker methods of working in 'small circles with quiet voices', QUNO has organised numerous off-the-record seminars to bring together policy makers, specialised staff from international institutions, knowledgeable and experienced environmental NGOs and labour leaders to look at links between international trade and labour and environmental standards.