Traidcraft are a fantastic example of an ethical online retailer. The Traidcraft online store sells a huge array of Fairtrade products encompassing; groceries, houseware goods, stationery, toys, gifts, christmas decorations, clothing and jewellery. With their constantly updated special offers section, home to hundreds of ethical and fair trade products, you are bound to find yourself some bargains whilst contributing toward a fairer world.
Set up as a Christian trading company and development charity in 1979, the mission of Traidcraft is to fight poverty by practising trade which helps people in developing countries improve their lives. The organisation strives to build strong and trusting relationships with producers, promote transparency in trade relations and support people out of poverty. Traidcraft’s vision is that of a world freed from poverty, enabling communities to thrive and trade to be fair. The main goals of Traidcraft are those of sustainable incomes, greater dignity and improved policies for poor people.
Traidcraft’s work looks into how communities can prosper, with a particular focus on strengthening sectors that benefit women, who are recognised as being more disadvantaged but often the most effective causes of positive development. They are committed to promoting more responsible consumption patterns in the UK by reducing the environmental footprint of the products they offer. They are aiming to increase the range of sectors and markets under fair trade standards and help even more marginalised farmers.
Traidcraft’s overarching principles are:
- To work in partnership with people whatever their religion and faith commitments.
- To combat poverty by engaging directly with trade and raising awareness of issues relating to poverty among UK consumers.
- To promote greater environmental sustainability practices by giving people a share in decisions about resources and responsibility for the use of natural resources.
- To promote fair prices and fair payment to producers, recognising that organisations should benefit all stakeholders.
Traidcraft is composed of two constituents being: ‘Traidcraft plc’, a public limited company that sells fair trade products in the UK, and ‘Traidcraft Exchange’ which is a development charity that works with poor farmers in Africa and Asia.
Traidcraft plc source from 30 developing countries such as India, Kenya and Cuba. Through their partnership with Oxfam, Equal Exchange and Twin Trading they set up Cafedirect which was the first Fairtrade product to be sold on supermarket shelves. Similarly they produced the Geobar which was the first Fairtrade composite food product. They were the first organisation to offer fair trade wine in the UK and they developed Fairtrade cotton with Agrocel. It was through this partnership that the Fairtrade Mark for cotton is now available and high-street chain Marks and Spencer are now sourcing directly from Agrocel. Traidcraft are also working closely with Marks and Spencer in order to develop Fairtrade cards that can be used within their shops.
The Fairtrade ethic also extends to finance as they set up ‘Shared Interest‘ which is a cooperative that offers ethical investment in fair trade in the developing world. The ‘Just Pensions’ project was also a pioneering project developed by Traidcraft and they worked directly with investors on pension funds. Traidcraft were the first to see the potentially damaging impacts of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) which are free trade agreements that require developing countries to open their markets to EU imports.
Traidcraft Exchange is a charity that was established in 1986 and aims to enable disadvantaged producers in Africa and Asia to grow their businesses and trade effectively. At present they are managing 14 major projects that are benefiting approximately 350,000 people. The charity lobbies and advises governments and organisations with the aim of improving conditions for disadvantaged organisations in the developing world. This is supported by the Policy Unit which focuses on trade policies in the UK, EU and World Trade Organisation.
Since the early 1990s Traidcraft has produced a set of social accounts. The social accounts are a joint report on the impact that both of the companies’ work has on the various stakeholders involved. The social accounts are treated with the same importance as the financial accounts and are also submitted to an external audit, and approval at an annual meeting.
In 1992 Traidcraft along with CAFOD, Christian Aid, New Consumer, Oxfam and the World Development Movement successfully set up the Fairtrade Foundation. Traidcraft is also a founder member of the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA).
Traidcraft are a shining example of an organisation working for positive change in the world. They are proof that it is possible to deliver high quality goods at decent prices whilst having a positive impact throughout the supply chain. To help perpetuate this ethos give shopping at Traidcraft’s fair trade online shop a go.