Support for Traidcraft

Ethical Consumer has just heard the news that Traidcraft, the fair trade pioneers founded in the 1970's, could cease trading by the end of 2018 unless a solution can be found this month.

Traidcraft's products score highly in 16 of our product guides, from the obvious fair trade products like tea, coffee and chocolate, to household cleaning products and even peat-free compost. They also sell fair trade clothing, homeware and gifts. Currently Traidcraft works with over 100 producers from 30 countries, and generates £10m in annual sales.

It was Traidcraft that introduced the first fair trade tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate to the UK in the early 1980s. Traidcraft also launched the first fair trade juice, wine, cotton, rubber, charcoal, and cleaning products.

In 1992, Traidcraft jointly founded the Fairtrade Foundation and helped establish the standards that underpin today's well-known Fairtrade Mark.

But now, Traidcraft is in trouble

The business has experienced shocks caused by the decision to leave the EU, and along with other retailers, sales have been hit by economic uncertainty and stagnating wages. All the plc’s 68 staff, based at Traidcraft HQ in Gateshead, are facing redundancy.

Chief Executive Robin Roth said:

“We are the sort of business that pays up front – that’s in our nature as an ethical business. So when the pound fell after the Brexit referendum, we took a hit.”

These factors, together with a disappointing online relaunch, contributed to the decision by the Traidcraft board to propose to cease trading at the end of the year unless a solution can be found.

Also, ironically, as fair trade has become more popular and fair trade products more widely available, a lot of people buy them in supermarkets, rather than supporting fair trade organisations directly.

Image: Traidcraft

Help Traidcraft now

The good news is, it's not too late to help Traidcraft turn their situation around. A good Autumn season is essential to the future of Traidcraft.

In a world where the richest 1% now owns as much wealth as the rest of the world put together, the ideas behind fair trade are more important than ever.

The international fair trade movement has only just released a new Fair Trade Charter, proclaiming 'There is Another Way!'. Fair trade is about putting people and planet before financial profit.

What can I do?

The Chief Executive wants people to get in touch with ideas for a future for Traidcraft plc:

We do fair trade with all of our hearts, and with every product you buy from us, you can be sure that a disadvantaged producer is benefitting, and not some anonymous multinational.”

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