World Fair Trade Day 2019
When is World Fair Trade Day 2019?
Saturday 11th May 2019
What is World Fair Trade Day?
Organised by the World Fair Trade Organisation, of which Traidcraft are an active member and a co-founder, the aim of World Fair Trade Day is to celebrate fair trade throughout the world and bring it to the wider public’s attention.
It an inclusive, worldwide festival of events, celebrating fair trade as a tangible contribution to sustainability, especially the economic empowerment of small producers, gender equality in workplaces and responsible production practices.
The day sees number of events are taking place, including meetings and conferences organised by the WFTO – for more info on these events, see here. It’s a key date in the world’s calendar as it aims to educate people about fair trade goods and the benefits of investing in them, over non-fair trade goods, emphasising the importance of being a fair and ethical consumer.
Choosing to buy fair trade is every day activism and the simplest way to change the world. By investing in fair trade goods, consumers are engaging in the fight against economic, trade and social injustices, as well as the killer effects of climate change. In its essence, buying fair trade ensures:
- Producers and artisans receive a fair, sufficient and timely payment for their goods, so that they can afford life's essentials, like food, education and healthcare.
- Safe working conditions, non-discrimination and welfare of children
- Traceability throughout supplier chain
- Sustainable sourcing
- Human rights are observed
What are the Key Themes for World Fair Trade Day 2019?
The key theme for this year’s World Fair Trade Day is innovation, and celebrating solutions for people and the planet, which the WFTO is championing online using the hashtag #FairTradeInnovates. The innovations that are being particularly celebrated are those that empower women, create economic opportunities, save the planet and develop products.
- Innovations that empower women
According to WTFO, “Fair Trade Enterprises have 52% female CEOs; Fair Trade business models provide a space for women to become leaders.” At Traidcraft, we work with many producers who place a large emphasis on ensuring their female growers and artisans are well looked after and are given equal opportunities to their male counterparts.
One instance of women being empowered is with our Malawian coffee producers. Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited (MCPCU), spread across Northern and Central Malawi, run a ‘Women in Coffee’ programme, implemented to empower women farmers and increase their personal income by selling coffee grown by women to buyers all over the world. As a result, there are over 650 female farmers across the six cooperatives! This is drastically more than regular plantations in the area, who aren’t part of the Union. If you’d like to read more about Mzuzu and Martha Mhango’s inspiring story, see our blog.
- Innovations that create economic opportunities
The WTFO note that “humankind has developed rapidly, leaving behind many and resulting in vast inequality. Fair Trade Enterprises are born to counter this trend by creating decent work and sustainable livelihoods.” We work with a large number of economically marginalised producers, to improve their livelihoods and make sure their methods are conducive to sustainability. Asha Handicrafts, for example, support the lives of the artisans who lovingly create their products – any small profits they make are ploughed back into the system, directly benefitting artisans, their families and winder communities. Asha is a fair trade organisation whose business model works to support artisans, which isn’t typically found in business or social organisations. They focus on the economic and personal development of all artisans, providing them with much more than just fair pay, but things like local welfare programmes and artisanal learning and economic development opportunities. For more on their beliefs, unique work and vision for the future, check out our recent interview with Asha.
- Innovations that save the planet
“Irresponsible production destroys the planet. Fair Trade Enterprises exist to provide alternatives with responsible and sustainable production.”
We’re doing all we can to look after our planet, including advocating the importance of organic farming methods. After all, healthy soil is the basis of all farming, of all growth, of all trade, of all nourishment and of all economic security. If the soil has gone, there isn’t a crop to sell. There are more living organisms in a handful of earth, than there are stars in the universe. If you spray it with pesticide, you will kill nearly all of them. Then you don’t have soil anymore. You have dust. Many of our products are Soil Association approved, and even those which don’t have the certification are products which we know have had no contact with pesticides or chemicals, and have been grown in the most sustainable of ways. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the topic of healthy soil and seeing why Fairtrade in Britain is all about conscious choices, take a look at Robin Roth’s reflections upon meeting with Vandana Shiva, who runs a small model farm, North of Delhi, and how she changed his entire understanding without him even realising it.
Apart from concerning ourselves with what goes into the soil, we also burn strongly for environmental justice in the form of pollution and lessening what goes into landfill. This is why in the production of our Eat Your Hat coffee, we innovated the foil to be completely compostable, as well as sourcing packaging which is made in a zero emissions factory and uses water based ink.
- Innovations in product development
“New product designs by Fair Trade Enterprises blend traditional skills and techniques with modern style, allowing consumers to live an ethical lifestyle.”
It’s important to keep on top of product ranges and constantly innovate to keep up with new, sustainable, ethical and eco advances in the market. For example, we are currently redeveloping our Clean & Fair range, the UK's first Fairtrade Marked, biodegradable, and eco-friendly household product range, made with natural, eco-friendly, plant-based ingredients. We use eco-friendly, sustainable palm oil within this range, which we have developed whilst working with Serendipalm and also Natural Habitats in Ecuador. FairPalm is the UK’s only fair trade, organic palm oil, protecting the environment whilst also supporting smallholder growers. However, we have received feedback that some of products are slightly separating when used, so subsequently we are focusing on developing a more stable, but still equally sustainable palm oil.
As this year’s World Fair Trade Day focuses on innovations, we’re inviting you to let us know what you think we should be innovating? If you’ve got any feedback or thoughts, we’d love to hear from you on email@example.com.