Fair Trade Month aims to raise awareness of the reasons why fair trade is important, and to promote buying and using socially and commercially sustainable, fair trade products in place of commodities which may harm the environment, the economy, communities and disadvantaged individuals.
It’s time to get started learning about and supporting Fair Trade Month!
History of Fair Trade Month
The Fair Trade Foundation was begun in 1992 in response to problems that small scale coffee farmers in Mexico had with obtaining fair and equal treatment in business. The organization was originally sponsored by many well-known groups, including Oxfam, Christian Aid, and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, among others.
In the next few years, a variety of products would become Fairtrade certified, the first of which was Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, made from cocoa sourced from Belize. Many other products followed shortly and the Fairtrade name became well known.
After this, cities and towns across the world began to become distinguished as Fairtrade Towns, meaning that the people support the work of Fair Trade organizations, networks and shops. The first Fairtrade Town was Lancashire, UK, which was self-declared in 2001.
Other happenings were also established that helped propel the movement forward. This included the Fairtrade Fortnight (two weeks of specifically fair trade shopping in the UK and other countries), the making of a new trademark, serving Fair Trade products at the G8 Summit, the support of Fair Trade by the 2012 London Olympics, and the inclusion of a Fair Trade campaign for Jewish Synagogues.
In 2004, the first annual Fair Trade Month was declared to be in October. The idea for the month is to not only purchase products that are supported by Fair Trade alliances, but also to share awareness for the cause with others so that they can change their buying habits to be better for the people of the earth.
How to Celebrate Fair Trade Month
Getting on board with celebrating Fair Trade Month can range from extremely simple to super involved. It’s up to you how much impact you want to make with support for the Fair Trade industry during this month. Try out these ideas for getting involved and doing something to grow the movement:
Buy Fair Trade
The most obvious way to show support to the movement during Fair Trade Month is by making purchases that are Fair Trade. And, while this is a good place to start, of course the idea would be to make it into a habit so that these sustainably produced products become a part of a person’s regular purchases all throughout the year!
Not sure where to buy fair trade products? A simple online search brings up a whole host of organizations that can lead in the right direction. Of course, different countries have different buying options, but here are some resources for a few places where people might want to buy fairly made products. (Or do a quick search for another country if the needed one isn’t here.)
- Fair Trade Certified, United States. Offering information about clothing, baking products, produce, coffee, snack foods and much more. https://www.fairtradecertified.org/products
- Fair Trade Foundation, United Kingdom. Bananas, coffee, flowers, juice, tea, wine, and even gold can be purchased from fair and equitable vendors found here. https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/buying-fairtrade/
- Fair Trade, Australia and New Zealand. Find access to products such as coffee, tea, flowers, ice cream, soccer balls, skin care and much more. https://fairtradeanz.org/
Join a Fair Trade Certified Community
In a variety of venues on social media and in person, Fair Trade groups meet to share ideas, discuss issues and show support for the Fair Trade movement. Whether on Facebook, Instagram or through local networks in libraries or business centers, spend some time this month investing in relationships that have the Fair Trade principles in common.
One easy way to get connected is by joining the Fair Trade community online through the organization’s website (https://action.fairtradecertified.org/). Just quickly filling out a short form will get a person signed up for email or text alerts in order to stay informed about the most important things that are going on in the world of Fair Trade.
Get Involved with a Fair Trade Campaign
Passionate about the plight of workers and farmers and ready to help stand up for their rights? The fair trade movement campaigns along a variety of topics that will improve the way workers and farmers live on the earth. Campaign for many different needs such as living incomes, climate justice, and even a revolution in the world of fashion. Check out the Fair Trade movement’s campaign website for ideas on how to get involved in making the world a better place!