World Fair Trade Day (WFTD) recognizes and celebrates the impact of fair trade relationships around the world. The first World Fair Trade Day was established by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and celebrated on the second Saturday in May, 2002. Since then fair traders all over the world, including Fair Trade Federation (FTF) members, have celebrated WFTD on the second Saturday in May each year. This year, WFTD is on Saturday, May 9.
Bunyaad is a recognized leader in fairly traded handmade rugs from Pakistan and we’ve been practicing fair trade since the 1960’s when Chaman Masih began working with just a few rug making families. Fair trade was not even part of the language back then. As time went along, Bunyaad joined forces with Ten Thousand Villages and the business of fairly traded rugs grew substantially. Just this year, Bunyaad became a member of the Fair Trade Federation and officially joined the North American and worldwide family of fair trade.
So, why should we care about World Fair Trade Day? I think there are four main reasons:
- Enjoy camaraderie and solidarity with other fair traders. We are part of a worldwide community of people, businesses and organizations practicing fair trade and trying to convince the rest of the world to do business in a fair trade manner. WFTD is an opportunity to celebrate our successes, share our stories and learn from each other so that we can continue to champion fair trade throughout the year.
- Encourage other businesses to operate according to the principles of fair trade. Celebrating WFTD around the world on the same day helps to promote the idea of fair trade beyond the scope of our normal influence. Hopefully, other people and businesses will take note and will want to join us in practicing fair trade so that artisans, farmers and workers everywhere will be able to enjoy working under fair trade conditions.
- Motivate consumers to buy fair trade products like our Bunyaad rugs. WFTD events in the USA and Canada and all around the world should capture the attention of many consumers who don’t know about fair trade. For the first time, they’ll get a chance to enjoy some fair trade coffee, savor some fair trade chocolate, purchase a fair trade basket and maybe even sit on a Bunyaad fair trade rug – and decide to buy one to enhance their home décor. Hopefully, many of these consumers will decide to start thinking about how they spend their money and who benefits from their purchases and resolve to start spending much more of their money on fair trade products so that the people who grow their food, make their products and provide their services can benefit from the practice of fair trade as well.
- Recognize and celebrate the artisans, farmers and workers who are the heart and soul of fair trade.
World Fair Trade Day is an opportunity to introduce them to people who attend fair trade events all around the world. Small scale coffee farmers like Jaime Marin in Colombia who provide delicious, fair trade coffee through Level Ground Trading, deserve to be recognized for their progressive farming practices that have improved the well-being of their families and their farming communities. Artisans like the rug makers Aziz and Bilquees (photo above) who make the finest quality handmade rugs in Pakistan for Bunyaad, have been able provide a good education for their daughters, Saba and Shazia who have joined their parents in the family rug making business. World Fair Trade Day is an opportunity to celebrate their success and honor their contribution to the real world practice of fair trade.
So, this World Fair Trade, Saturday, May 9, 2015, let’s all join together with our fellow fair traders all around the world to celebrate our fair trade work. Hopefully, more businesses will join us in trading fairly; more consumers will decide to spend their money on fair trade products and artisans and farmers everywhere will be honored for the good, hard work that they do every day. All of this should work together to make the world just a little bit better place for all of us to live in. Celebrating World Fair Trade Day each year can give us all a little extra boost to continue our fair trade work so that one day we’ll be able to sit back and say: We are truly living in a fair trade world and we had a part in making it happen. Viva, fair trade!
Links to places where you can learn more about World Fair Trade Day and find WFTD events:
• USA & Canada, Fair Trade Federation – https://www.fairtradefederation.org/wftd/
• Worldwide, World Fair Trade Organization – https://wfto.com/events/world-fair-trade-day-2015-0