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.

Reference:

www.traidcraft.co.uk/ (9 November 2020)

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website and Annual Report and Financial Statements 2020 looking for information on what the company was doing to tackle climate change.

Ethical Consumer was looking for the following:

For the company to discuss its areas of climate impact, and to discuss plausible ways it has cut them in the past, and ways that it will cut them in the future.

For the company to not be involved in any particularly damaging projects like tar sands, oil or aviation, to not be subject to damning secondary criticism regarding it’s climate actions, and to have a policy to avoid investing in fossil fuels.

For the company to report annually on its scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions by the company), and to go some way towards reporting on its scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain, investments and sold products).

For the company to have a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with international agreements (counted as the equivalent of at least 2.5% cut per year in scope 1&2 emissions), and to not count offsetting towards this target.

As Traidcraft was a small company with a turnover of under £10.2 million, however, it was considered good enough that it discussed credible ways that it had cut its emisisons in the past, and would continue doing so in the future.

The Annual Report 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 Traidcraft website provided a link to a Purchasing Policy from 2012 which demonstrated awareness of carbon emissions involved in transportation and storing of goods, stating: "in the development of newproducts Traidcraft will considerandseek to minimise the environmental ‘footprint’ involved. For products developed using components which are also readily available in the North, account will betaken of seasonal issues, quality and market considerations as well as shipping methods androutes."

Ethical Consumer also viewed the company's Annual Review of Impact & Performance 2015-16 which provided some detail of the company's awareness of the climate impact of its own operations. It also included some reduction targets and stories of how producers were reducing their footprint through, amongst other things, reducing chemical use.

However, as the more detailed discussions were four years old or more, it was considered that Traidcraft did not provide an adequate discussion of its climate impacts and ways it was reducing them. Though the company only sourced fair trade "FairPalm" palm oil, little discussion was found about the impacts of the various materials sourced for the company's products. No up to date data or targets were found.

Overall the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for carbon management and reporting and lost a whole mark in the Climate Change category.

Reference:

www.traidcraft.co.uk/ (9 November 2020)

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer searched the Traidcraft website for a statement on the use of toxic chemicals in relation to its "Clean & Fair" brand. The website stated that "The Clean & Fair range is eco-friendly and made using only natural, plant-based ingredients."

Ethical Consumer contacted the company in May 2019 and asked for the company's policy on the use of triclosan, parabens and phthalates which Ethical Consumer expected companies to have removed or have clear targets to remove from their supply chains. The company replied stating that it did not use any of the three chemicals.

As no evidence was found to the contrary this was assumed to still be the case. The Clean & Fair range had also been reduced to just soaps.

Traidcraft therefore received Ethical Consumer's best rating for its toxics chemicals policy.

Reference:

www.traidcraft.co.uk/ (9 November 2020)

In May 2020, Ethical Consumer was contacted by Traidcraft which said it no longer produced its Clean & Fair range of products, apart from a few soaps, which were labelled on its website as biodegradable and containing no artificial ingredients, containing over 16% Fairtrade coconut oil from India, and 65% fair trade and eco-friendly palm oil (known as FairPalm) from Seredipalm in Ghana.
As such, it no longer was rated for a policy on microplastics and non-biodegradable liquid polymers.

Reference:

www.traidcraft.co.uk/clean-fair (30 March 2020)

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website and found that it sold paper products, such as toilet paper and tissue. It also sold a small number of wooden ornaments and games but these were not considered to be a significant part of the business. The company also sold a number of wrapping paper and card products. As all the the toilet paper and tissues were 100% recycled and all the wrapping paper and card was FSC certified, the company was considered to have effective, if not explicit best practice for its timber sourcing policy.

It therefore received Ethical Consumer's best rating for its timber sourcing policy.

Reference:

www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/ (9 November 2020)

In November 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website, which had a page on FairPalm, its own fairly traded palm oil from West Africa. Traidcraft stated that it used FairPalm in its cleaning products, cookies and savoury biscuits.

Ethical Consumer also viewed the Traidcraft UK retail website. The only Traidcraft branded products which used palm were in the aforementioned categories, as well as some sweet biscuits which also used FairPalm.

"With FairPalm, we decided that fair trade could only occur in the smallholder farming sector, embracing organic, and leaving no place for monocropping."

It also stated "FairPalm is grown by smallholder farmers in West Africa – where oil palm plants are indigenous, grow naturally alongside other crops, and where the farming community often possess a few palm trees as part of their multi cropping small holder farming."

The company was considered to have a positive policy on palm oil, and received Ethical Consumer's best rating.

Reference:

www.traidcraft.co.uk/ (9 November 2020)