The Fair Trade Day takes place every May, bringing together individuals and organizations that fight for workers all around the world to be equitably rewarded for their products. Learn more about Fair Trade Day, and what it means to join the cause for fair trade either in your business or in your daily life.
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While consumers in the developed world enjoy fruits, coffee, sneakers, and jeans, thousands of people producing these essentials in other countries aren’t as lucky. Many people in African, Asian, and South American countries, including children, work for long hours in unbearable conditions—and for pitiful wages—so we can have these products at our disposal.
However, many individuals are empathetic enough to fight for everyone’s right to better wages and decent working conditions, regardless of their countries of origin. This is why we celebrate Fair Trade Day, a time to focus on the goals and achievements of the Fair Trade movement.
What’s Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a global movement that brings together a diverse network of consumers, producers, advocates, companies, and organizations that put people and the planet first. Fair Trade believes that everyone desires to do good, either for their fellow global citizens, their families, or the Earth, so we should commit to making the right choices.
The concept of fair trade comes from knowing that the products we buy and sell are connected to other people’s livelihoods in different countries. For that matter, it is a means to a conscious choice for a better world for everyone.
If you join the Fair Trade movement, you will be going for Fair Trade Certified products to support farmers, fishers, and workers, as well as responsible companies and the environment. You would be embracing a world-changing way of doing business.
Products bearing the Fair Trade certification meet rigorous environmental, social, and economic standards. Their impacts include:
- Sustainable livelihoods: Ensuring that workers get better working conditions and are paid fairly.
- Safe working conditions: Striving to have workers in conducive environments for the production process.
- Protection of the environment: production activities shouldn’t hurt the environment.
- Community development funds: contribute to the financial development of the communities involved in the production of the Fair Trade-certified goods.
History of Fair Trade Day
The Fair Trade Day takes place every year since 2004, on the second Saturday of May. It was created in 2004 by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), an association of 324 entities in 70 countries. The Fair Trade Day is a global festival of events that celebrate Fair Trade as a means to fight poverty, exploitation, economic crises, and climate change.
It brings together millions of businesses, organizations, traders, producers, policymakers, advocates, and volunteers that contribute to the growth of fair trade across the globe.
WFTO has determined that the following values should be celebrated during Fair Trade Day:
- Transparency and accountability
- Payment of fair prices
- Creation of opportunities for the economically disadvantaged producers
- Fair and acceptable trading practices
- Ensuring good working conditions
- Abolishing child labour, and forced labour
- Commitment to gender equity, non-discrimination, and freedom of association
- Capacity building
- Commitment to environmental protection
- Promoting fair trade
How you can tell something is Fair Trade
You may not tell if products are Fair Trade-certified when you buy them, but you can always look for some indicators. They are crucial to ensure you are promoting the endeavours and aspirations of millions of people and organizations that promote fair trade practices.
For one, good businesses are transparent about their vendors. They offer some education about fair trade practices and make it evident they are members of the WFTO or an affiliate body. It would then be easy for you to determine whether they are fair trade and buy their products.
You’ll probably need some time to familiarize yourself with the labels used to certify fair trade products. This is because each third-party organization that does the certification use their own label. You’ll also need a little research when you buy online. Most product websites provide information regarding its scope, licensing, certifications, and other relevant details, so take a good look to see if they offer any information about their fair trade policies and practices.
Why we love Fair Trade Day
We certainly believe that Fair Trade Day deserves a celebration. As the big day approaches, we are more than ready to commemorate fair trade practices. So, why do we love this day?
- It makes workers happy: Fair wages improve life for workers and their families, making the world a happier and healthier place.
- It opens our eyes to the injustices in the world: Fair Trade Day draws our attention to issues such as poor pay and unhealthy working conditions so that we can join the fight for fairness and justice.
It fosters environmental preservation: Businesses and organizations that don’t subscribe to fair trade could be using devious ways in their production processes, harming the environment. Fair Trade Day exposes these malpractices and helps us shun them.
Celebrating Fair Trade Day
Suppose you have never celebrated Fair Trade Day, but are looking forward to joining millions of people and organizations in this global festival for fairness. So, how to celebrate it?
The best place to start is by researching the work conditions of people around the world. This would give you an idea of how these people are forced to live through poor wages and working conditions. You would then know what you are against in this global movement.
The next step would be raising awareness among your family and friends through such activities, like doing social media posts about the subject. You may also consider buying as most Fair Trade-certified items as possible, so you make your stand by walking the walk.
All these are remarkable actions for you to celebrate your first Fair Trade Day. When next year comes, you’ll already know how to join the party and do your part to make the world a fairer place.