In November 2020 Ethical Consumer searched the Traidcraft website for an environmental policy or report.
An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.
The website contained a link to an Environmental Policy, dated from 2005. This outlined the company's approach to environmental impact management which contained mentions of such issues as: deforestation, use of dyes and pesticides, sustainable agriculture, high energy production processes, goods transportation, packaging, water and energy usage and waste. Though this was not an up to date report, as it was prominently displayedt on the Traidcraft website, the policy document was taken as an indication of the company's current awareness of its environmental impact.
The company's Annual Report and Financial Statements 2020 was also viewed, which stated "Given the overall reduction in sales, and the subsequent reduction in activities, including travel to visit producers, the environmental impact of the company has been substantially reduced. No carbon footprint measurements could be taken this year. The company has been introducing plant-based packaging on as many products as possible and this process will continue as and when manufacturers are able to accommodate our requests. Travel to visit producers was severely curtailed in 2019 and will only take place on a needs must basis in 2020." Ethical Consumer noted that this was the same statement, albeit with altered years, as appeared in the previous year's Annual Report.
The company's 2018 report was also viewed. The report mentioned some of the environmental impacts the company had, such as energy, waste, recycling, transport and travel. However, little detail was given. No future dated and quantifiable environmental reduction targets could be found.
Traidcraft was now a small company with a turnover of less than £10.2 million. Many of its own-brand food products (chocolate, honey, jam, marmalade, coffee) were organic (but not biscuits, cake and sweets). Many gifts or furnishings were marketed as eco-friendly, using "natural" or "recycled" materials. However, overall Traidcraft was not considered to be offering solely an environmental alternative, and therefore could not be given an exemption under Ethical Consumer's Environmental Reporting rating.
Though it demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, the company did not have an up to date environmental report, nor did it have quantified future targets or independent assurance of environmental data. The company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmenta Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.
www.traidcraft.co.uk/ (9 November 2020)