This October is the 9th annual Fair Trade Month. Throughout the month, ethically-minded consumers, retailers and brands will unite to celebrate and promote Fair Trade. A variety of education events, in-store sampling programs and online initiatives have been planned to help increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade Certified products, ultimately leading to greater impact for farmers and workers in developing countries. The theme for Fair Trade Month 2012 is Count Me In.
So how will you celebrate Fair Trade Month? Here are 10 simple actions you can take that will help make a big difference:
1. COUNT YOURSELF IN!
You believe that Fair Trade is a great way to improve the lives of farmers and workers. You want to support them on their journey to become better stewards of the land. You care about supporting the brands that are sourcing ethically and transparently. And you happen to LOVE the delicious Fair Trade Certified products that are now available in more than 100,000 stores in North America. So take the Fair Trade Month pledge and make your support known!
2. BECOME A FAN OF FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED ON FACEBOOK
Visit the Fair Trade Certified fan page and you will find a robust community of Fair Traders like you! Regular updates will help you stay up-to-date on the latest news in the Fair Trade world, including frequent giveaways, stories from Fair Trade farms, delicious recipes, and information about Fair Trade events. Become a fan to demonstrate your support for Fair Trade, then take your support a step further by becoming a fan of brands that sell Fair Trade Certified products. This is a good way to let them know that you like what they’re doing!
You can also show your support for Fair Trade on your own Facebook profile by changing your cover photo to one of these inspiring images.
3. TWEET FOR FAIR TRADE WITH @FAIRTRADEUSA
If you’re a Twitter-er, follow @FairTradeUSA for up-to-the-minute news from the Fair Trade community and have the opportunity to participate in live discussions and Twitter parties. During Fair Trade Month, tweet about Fair Trade using the #FairTradeMonth hashtag.
4. BUY FAIR TRADE
Fair Trade is a market-based approach to fighting poverty. That means that it only works when you actually buy the stuff. So make sure you’re holding up your end of the bargain during October!
Can you make a commitment to purchase at least one Fair Trade Certified product every time you shop? In addition to try new products, you are voting with your dollars by showing your favorite store that you support Fair Trade. You are also supporting the hard working farmers who produced the product.
Another approach is to make one swap in your everyday routine – like trading in your daily cup of coffee or banana for the Fair Trade Certified version.
5. SHARE A FAIR TRADE VIDEO
Educate your friends and family about Fair Trade by sharing a video. Fair Trade can be a tricky concept to grasp, so the new Fair Trade Month PSA features a simple explanation from a 7-year-old who also happens to be an expert shopper. Visit the Fair Trade Certified YouTube page to find even more educational videos.
6. ASK FOR FAIR TRADE
Having trouble finding Fair Trade products where you shop? Sometimes all you have to do is ask! Requesting more Fair Trade products is as easy as filling out a comment card or speaking directly with the manager. Explain that you want to make every purchase matter by buying Fair Trade. It helps to name specific products or product categories and to direct the manager to the Fair Trade USA website www.FairTradeUSA.org to learn more.
You can also ask for Fair Trade to be served at your school or office. Encouraging a large organization to go Fair Trade is a very effective way to increase the impact for farmers and workers in more than 58 countries.
“American consumers have so much power. Every time we go to the store we can vote with our dollars for a better world.” – Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA
7. DONATE TO FAIR TRADE USA
Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations in order to expand the reach and impact of Fair Trade. Your gift supports our life-changing work with farmer and worker families across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Economic security. Schools. Scholarships. Life-saving medical care. Women’s empowerment. Environmental sustainability.
Every $1 Fair Trade USA has spent since 1999 has generated more than $5 in additional farmer and worker income.
Make a donation today. Every dollar matters.
8. START OR JOIN A FAIR TRADE CAMPAIGN
Joining a Fair Trade Towns or Fair Trade Universities campaign is a fun and engaging way to grow the Fair Trade movement in your community or campus. As a comprehensive platform for growing awareness, availability, and commitment to Fair Trade in the United States, these groups provide the opportunity to build community in your town, as well as connect your community to those in the developing world. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can even attend the Fair Trade Campaigns Conference in Chicago from October 26-28. Kelsey Timmerman, Author of “Where Am I Wearing” and the upcoming “Where Am I Eating?” will be this year’s keynote speaker!
9. GIVE THE GIFT OF FAIR TRADE
Take the time to teach a friend or family member about the importance of Fair Trade. Help them to understand why Every Purchase Matters and why farmers in the developing world need our support. We find that teachable moments are best created over a delicious Fair Trade Certified chocolate bar, a cup of tea, or scoop of ice cream made with Fair Trade Certified ingredients. Share these two-minute videos to help explain the impact of Fair Trade, the environmental benefits of Fair Trade, and the power of the consumer.
10. PLAN A FAIR TRADE HALLOWEEN
It’s convenient that Fair Trade Month and Halloween share a month, because both occasions provide a great opportunity to promote Fair Trade. The easiest place to start is by ensuring that your Halloween chocolate is Fair Trade Certified. Costume ideas that make a statement: Dress as a Fair Trade Certified banana, cup of coffee or chocolate bar. When someone asks about your costume, take the time to explain why Fair Trade matters to you.
By Katie Barrow, LOHAS