On May 13, Fair Trade Day will honor the movement for a world in which all laborers are paid more fairly for the work they do and the products they create. Fair trade aims to create a more equal and positive working situation for laborers around the world. Many laborers producing some of the world’s most lucrative products—like coffee, clothing, and chocolate—are living in poverty and collecting painfully low wages. Fair Trade aims to change this. The movement is an actionable step toward reducing poverty, mistreatment of workers, climate issues, and economic constraints around the world. The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) created the holiday in 2004 and declared that it would be celebrated on the second Saturday of each May. The holiday consists of worldwide festivals and other events that celebrate the importance of fair trade and encourage others to join in the fight.
How to Observe Fair Trade Day
1. Buy fair trade products
Next time you need to make a purchase at your local supermarket, be sure that the product is fair trade certified. If your local stores don’t carry fair trade products, encourage them to do so, and explain the movement’s benefits.
2. Share a selfie
The World Fair Trade Organization is calling on anyone celebrating the holiday to share a group selfie on social media with the hashtags #FairTradeDay and #AgentForChange. You can participate by gathering your friends (and perhaps a few fair trade products you love), printing out visuals provided by WFTO, and locking hands in the photo. After you post, WFTO might share your images on their social media platforms. WFTO believes we can create a fairer world “together, hand in hand,” so it’s only fitting to share a photo with locked hands.
3. Attend a local fair trade event
Communities around the world celebrate Fair Trade Day with cheerful events that call attention to food and artisan products created under fair trade initiatives. Find an event in your area and bring a friend! If you’re feeling inspired, you can even host or organize your own fair trade activity or event in your area. Every little step helps to raise awareness.
Why Fair Trade Day is Important
A. It creates a more ethical world
When workers are paid fairly, they and their families can lead better lives. That leads to a healthier world, which benefits everyone. The fight for fair trade is a powerful eye-opener into some of the many other injustices in our world, and what we can do to improve them.
B. It reminds us not to take everyday products for granted
For each bag of coffee beans we bring home from the grocery store, there may be laborers who were unfairly paid for helping to get the product on shelves. The convenience of the modern world makes it very easy to mindlessly consume, but it’s always important to consider where our products come from. Behind every pair of jeans, packet of tea, or stack of candy bars we see on a store shelf is a group of real people who worked hard to get those products there. It’s our global responsibility to ensure that such laborers are working in safe conditions and are being paid enough to support themselves and their families.
C. It can benefit the environment
Companies that do not adhere to fair trade standards often create products at an unsustainable rate that does major damage to the earth. A major tenet of fair trade is respect for the environment, and that’s especially important in the fact of climate change.