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Change for Fair Trade Month in 2023

Published on Jan 1, 2023 (Updated on May 20, 2024)
Changement pour le mois du commerce équitable en 2023

Starting in 2023, we have a World Fair Trade Day in May and a full Fair Trade Month in October.

For many years the month has also been held in May. This new calendar gives us the opportunity to highlight the convergences and divergences between fair trade day and month, fair business and fair product and also between the fair trade movements and that of local purchasing.

A day of fair businesses, a month of fair products

The day was created by World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) , while the month is promoted by Fairtrade International, relayed here by Fairtrade Canada .

World Day, established in 2004 by the WFTO, always takes place on the second Saturday in May. It aims to celebrate fair trade, beyond trademarks.

WFTO defines itself as a global community of businesses that exist to put people and planet first. We are activists fighting for change. WFTO was born in 1989, but the pioneers who founded us date back as far as the 1940s. Today, their vision and values ​​transcend the WFTO community and the broader fair trade and social enterprise movements. WFTO = social enterprise + fair trade


In summary, WFTO's approach, which dates back to the founders of fair trade, brings together companies that promote a fairer economy and trade, while Fairtrade International promotes fair trade products certified by Flocert . These products are marketed by companies which are committed, at least in part, to fair trade, but whose mission is not necessarily geared towards an overall fair trade approach.


Umano is a member of Fairtrade which guarantees independent control over the fair trade products that we import and market. And, although we are not members of WFTO, we broadly share the mission of being an equitable company integrated into a global community. So this year we will celebrate May Day and the month of October!

Advocating for local and fair-trade businesses and products

As mentioned previously, The WFTO defines itself as “ A global community of businesses…fighting for change ” and which combines fair trade and social impact business. This point of view allows us to move away from the patterns generally associated with fair trade, namely a one-to-one exchange between producer of raw materials in poor countries and consumer in rich countries. This broadens our horizons and allows us to dream, for example, of a link between local purchasing and fair trade.

Everyone has their challenges, but small market gardeners, breeders and artisanal processors struggle to make a decent living from their work. And this reality is true in Quebec as much as in South America, Europe or Africa.

From a product certification perspective

The rules that are known and applied for coffee, cocoa or bananas could also be adapted and applied for cereals, legumes or other products from Quebec farms. Such products, from local farms and labeled fair trade, are already present in various European countries.

And from the perspective of the business community

For example, cooperative products Coopake located in Burkina Faso and imported by Umano, supply several businesses and processing companies in Sherbrooke and throughout the province. Shea butter, cashew nuts, mango and hibiscus are essential ingredients in the manufacture of soaps, lotions, spreads, drinks and other products made by local companies.

Companies such as Umano, the Coopake , the Organic bulk grocery store silo Or Bulk and jars have several points in common. These companies all have a strong anchor and a positive socio-economic impact in their community.

Training workshop - Coopake - Umano
Cashew Butter Training Workshop – Coopake and Umano

Dozens of jobs, both in Burkina Faso and here, are possible thanks to this commercial exchange.

Expanding the scope of fair trade businesses to our farms and processors that integrate fair trade principles and source Fairtrade products where available, would be a big step forward for the fair trade movement.