Traidcraft’s plan to continue fair trading 

In October, Traidcraft announced that they might be forced to cease trading. This blog is an update and it's good news! 

We reported in October that Traidcraft, the Fairtrade pioneers founded in the 1970's, were potentially to cease trading by the end of 2018 unless a solution could be found.

We have now received an update that from 2019 there will be a new slimmed-down version of Traidcraft, focused more on the fair trade food products that have scored so well in our product guides.

The plan came forward during a legal consultation process. It was written by a group of staff, supported by external advisers, and influenced by hundreds of well-wishers who offered ideas.

At its heart is an aspiration to make transparent the costs, prices and profits involved in every Traidcraft product it sells, which carries on the fair trade tradition of challenging and disrupting the market.

CEO Robin Roth said: “We want our members to be co-conspirators in changing how trade is understood and practiced. We want to tell consumers who gets what from the Traidcraft products they buy. We want to annoy and irritate those who profit unduly through the non-transparency of their trading activities. We will cause good trouble, just as those six fair trade pioneers who started Traidcraft did back in 1979.”
 

Image: Traidcraft product

Returning the business to profit will involve a simpler range of products. The new Traidcraft will:

  • establish core grocery lines.
  • carry fewer craft lines.
  • encourage communities to buy cooperatively and in bulk, saving on packaging and benefitting the planet.
  • deliver discounts through a membership model for supporters.

All of Traidcraft’s 67 members of staff have faced redundancy through the legal consultation process; 22 of whom chose voluntary redundancy, and a further 45 were issued notices of redundancy. There will be 12 roles available within the future plan for the organisation, which all staff will be welcome to apply for. Around 10 additional members of staff will remain on an extended contract for a transitionary period.

Background

Traidcraft's products have scored 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’ve also sold fair trade clothing, homeware and gifts. Traidcraft had links with over 100 producers, employing hundreds more people, from 30 countries, and generated £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.

The business had experienced shocks caused by the decision to leave the EU, and along with other retailers, sales had been hit by economic uncertainty and stagnating wages.

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.

What can I do?

Buy Traidcraft's fair trade food. Buy fair trade tea and coffee. Buy handcrafted homewares. Buy presents.

Sign up to receive Traidcraft email newsletters, registering your interest in helping Traidcraft become more dynamic in the future.

Tell your friends about Traidcraft. Share this message in an email.

If you're part of a church, spread the word with your church community. Visit a Traidcraft Stall in a church near you. Read the 'What Can My Church do?" page for other ways that your church can help.

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.”

Traidcraft features in the following guides: 

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