Celebrated annually on the second Saturday of May, Fair Trade Day serves as a worldwide acknowledgement and endorsement of fair trade as a convincing approach to economic advancement that brings extensive benefits to producers in less developed nations. This day sees corporations, entities and people globally showing their solidarity with southern hemisphere producers, advocating improved trading circumstances and endorsing just trade principles.

Fair Trade Day provides us with a platform to educate people about the importance of morally responsible buying, the notion of offering fair prices, and the incredible transformation conscious buying decisions can bring about, especially for producers and communities who are often economically oppressed.

History of Fair Trade Day

Focused on championing fair trade as a substantial and lasting trading model, Fair Trade Day marks the movement for ensuring farmers and workers from developing countries receive improved working conditions, balanced trade agreements, and fair payment for their goods. Fair trade advancements offer these communities more economical growth opportunities, redefined social and environmental standards, sustainable farming methods, and overall better living conditions.

While the principles of fair trade can be traced back several decades, it wasn’t until the later part of the 20th century that specific initiatives began to reinforce these principles formally. Europe was a forerunner in this respect, with organizations like the British Fairtrade Foundation and the Netherland’s Max Havelaar, taking the initiative.

World Fair Trade Day, as it’s also known, was first celebrated in 2004, led by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO). The WFTO, established in 1989, is a comprehensive network representing fair traders globally. The celebration of this event has gained momentum over the years, with increasing participation from corporations, NGOs, and consumers.

Marked on the calendar every second Saturday of May, Fair Trade Day aims to shed light on fair trade’s core principles by urging ethical selling and buying practices. Its celebratory events and activities are not confined within the borders of improving the economic conditions of underprivileged workers and producers. It stretches further to accentuate the interconnectedness between trade, sustainable development, and the environment.

Fair Trade Day Timeline

First Fair Trade Shop opens

Edna Ruth Byler opens the first fair trade shop in the U.S. She sold handcrafted products from low income artisans in Puerto Rico.

First Fair trade label

The first Fair trade label, Max Havelaar, is launched by the Dutch development agency Solidaridad.

Creation of International Fair Trade Association

The Fair Trade movement expands with the creation of the International Fair Trade Association, which was renamed to the World Fair Trade Organization.

Global Exchange

In the U.S., Global Exchange starts the Fair Trade coffee campaign.

World Fair Trade Day

The first World Fair Trade Day is celebrated, mobilizing thousands of volunteers and citizens to demonstrate support for Fair Trade and trade justice.

Fair Trade Benefits

With Fair Trade's popularity growing, a study finds that Fair Trade products benefit poor rural workers in Africa, but not the poorest of the poor.

Fair Trade partnerships

Fair Trade partnerships expand to include corporations like Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's, raising awareness about fair trade principles.

Ideas to Celebrate Fair Trade Day

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Organize a Fair Trade Goods Exhibition

Invite local fair trade businesses to showcase their environmentally friendly products. This is a great way to publicize their brand and educate the community about the principles of fair trade.

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Host a Fair Trade Coffee or Tea Tasting

Get in contact with fair trade coffee and tea distributors. Host a tasting event where people can learn about the production process, taste different varieties, and purchase products.

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Run a Fair Trade Workshop

Organize a workshop on fair trade where industry experts can explain the concept, its importance, and how it impacts both producers and consumers. This is an effective way to spread awareness on this subject.

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Charity Bake Sale with Fair Trade Ingredients

Use fair trade ingredients such as coffee, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla to bake delicious treats for a charity bake sale. This not only supports fair trade but also contributes to a good cause.

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Screen a Documentary on Fair Trade

Arrange a viewing of a documentary that focuses on the fair trade movement. This is not only informative but can also stimulate discussion on the issue.

7 Interesting Facts About Fair Trade Day


Special Features

World Fair Trade Day often involves festivals, fashion shows, flash mobs, food and drink, and various events to promote Fair Trade.


Worldwide Impact

There are more than a million small-scale producers and workers spread over fifty countries involved in Fair trade.


Fair Trade Differences

Fair Trade goods are produced in an ethical manner, meaning workers are paid fair wages, work in safe conditions, and employ environmentally sustainable practices.


Coffee World Leader

Fair Trade Certified coffee is the most common product, covering a wide range of developing countries including Mexico, Nicaragua, Kenya, and Ethiopia.


Environmental Standpoint

Fair Trade helps to promote environmentally sustainable farming practices and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.


Supporting Women’s Rights

Fair Trade also promotes gender equality by offering women opportunities to take on leadership roles, and ensures they receive equal wages.


Huge Financial Turnover

According to the World Fair Trade Organization, the Global Fair Trade system represents €8.5bn (around $9.03bn) worldwide.

Fair Trade Day FAQs

Next Fair Trade Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 May 13th Saturday
2024 May 11th Saturday
2025 May 10th Saturday
2026 May 9th Saturday
2027 May 8th Saturday
What is the pattern? Second Saturday of May

Fair Trade Day Word Search

  • Equitable
  • Justice
  • Producers
  • Global
  • Fairness
  • Workers