As Traidcraft was a small company with a turnover of less than £10.2 million it was eligible for exemption from Ethical Consumer’s Environmental Reporting rating if it was considered to be providing environmental alternative products. In July 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website. Of 197 food products on its website, only 17 were organic. Many gifts or furnishings were marketed as eco-friendly, using "natural" or "recycled" materials.

The About Traidcraft page stated: “ We advocate the importance of organic farming, sustainability and transparency to the lives of growers and artisans around the world.” The website also contained a link to an Environmental Policy, adopted in 2005 and reviewed in 2008. 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.

The company's Annual Report and Financial Statements for y/e 31 March 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.

On the Traidcraft shop website, there was a page on environmental justice which stated: "When it comes to our own-branded food and drink products, we consider the eco-credentials of every single element throughout the supply chain; from the ingredients we use and how they’re grown, to the production method utilised in the product’s making. When it comes to the crafts and fashion we source through third party suppliers, we think long and hard about their ethos, sustainability, stance on the environment, materials used (such as Organic cotton, SeaCell™ and TENCEL™ ), and production methods implemented, as well as things like their impact on people and planet, and whether they’re Organic, recyclable or recycled." The website also outlined steps Traidcraft had taken to change its packaging and reduce carbon in other areas of its business.

Whilst Traidcraft showed awareness of their environmental impact and had taken some steps to reduce their packaging, there was not enough information given about how they ensured that their suppliers minimised their environmental impacts for them to be considered to be providing an environmental alternative. The company therefore received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/ (28 July 2021)

In July 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website looking for information on what the company was doing to tackle climate change. As the company had a turnover below £10.2m, to achieve a best rating it was expected to demonstrate that it was discussing its areas of climate impact as well as plausible ways it has cut these in the past and ways that it will cut them in the future. Or, if it was a business that was considered to be providing a lower carbon alternative, it could achieve a middle rating by default.

Traidcraft had an environmental policy adopted in 2005 and reviewed in 2008. This stated: "Every activity that Traidcraft engages in has an impact on the environment. Traidcraft endeavours to understand which of its activities has the most significant environmental impact and to focus its improvement activities on these areas." It gave examples of its most significant areas of impact including the design and manufacturing processes of goods sold, the use of high energy processes in the production of some goods sold, transport and travel of goods and people to and within the UK, and the use of energy, water and paper at its offices. The policy set out how it would address these through future policy and actions including setting annual environmental objectives for its significant impacts, publishing an annual summary of its environmental performance, assessing all new policies and activities for its effects on the environment. It also stated that it would minimise the consumption of energy and other resources at UK sites, reduce staff travel and encourage the least damaging forms of transport, recover and recycle where possible and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

The company's Annual Report and Financial Statements for y/e 31 March 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.

On the Traidcraft shop website, there was a page on environmental justice which stated: "When it comes to our own-branded food and drink products, we consider the eco-credentials of every single element throughout the supply chain; from the ingredients we use and how they’re grown, to the production method utilised in the product’s making. When it comes to the crafts and fashion we source through third party suppliers, we think long and hard about their ethos, sustainability, stance on the environment, materials used (such as Organic cotton, SeaCell™ and TENCEL™ ), and production methods implemented, as well as things like their impact on people and planet, and whether they’re Organic, recyclable or recycled." In the section on packaging, the website stated: "In 2019, we used a total of 186 rolls of air film (which makes the recyclable air-filled pillows to protect your orders in transit). A switch to paper void fill reduced our plastic packaging material by 1.488 tonnes and a CO2 output reduction of 0.18 tonnes. In 2019, we used 3,024 rolls of plastic tape to seal your orders. The switch to paper tape means that we will save 0.992 tonnes of plastic material reduction and a CO2 output reduction of 0.72 tonnes. We also use compostable bags to package liquids." The page also had information about its choices on who printed its catalogues, who delivered its orders and who took its photographs. This demonstrated that it had considered its carbon impacts across the business.

Overall, Traidcraft was considered to have discussed its areas of climate impact as well as plausible ways it had cut these in the past and ways that it would cut them in the future. It therefore achieved a best rating for carbon management and reporting.

Reference:

https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/ (28 July 2021)

In September 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft retail website for details on its cotton sourcing. It did not sell own brand cotton products, but sold various cotton items, all of which were organic and fairtrade.

According to Anti-Slavery International (ASI) website viewed by Ethical Consumer in June 2021, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, and every year their governments forcibly mobilised over one million citizens to grow and harvest cotton.

According to the 2020 Sustainable Cotton Ranking published by Pesticide Action Network UK, Solidaridad and WWF, conventional cotton production involved the overuse and misuse of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, which has significant impacts on ecosystems, and the health of farmers and their communities.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-profit pro biotech organisation, “Biotech cotton was planted to 25.7 million hectares, covering 79% of the global area of cotton in 2019.”

The company was a retailer, rather than manufacturer, of cotton products, and as all of the cotton items sold were either organic and fairtrade it was considered to have a positive policy as a cotton retailer.

Reference:

https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/ (28 July 2021)

In August 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website and saw that it sold a range of cleaning and personal care products. Ethical Consumer could find no policy or statement on the use of toxic chemicals. However, as the range was relatively small and the majority of it was produced by the Bio D brand which does not use toxic chemicals, Traidcraft was not marked down under Pollutions & Toxics. This reference is for information only.

Reference:

https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/ (28 July 2021)

In August 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website and found that it sold own brand paper products, such as toilet paper and tissue. It also sold a small number of wooden ornaments but these were not considered to be a significant part of the business. The company also sold a number of stationery and greetings card products. As it was a small company, and all the toilet paper, tissues and stationery were 100% recycled and all the cards were FSC certified, it was assumed that at least 75% was made from recycled paper. It was not marked down under Habitats & Resources.

Reference:

https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/ (28 July 2021)

In September 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the Traidcraft website, which had a page on Sustainable Palm Oil which included information about FairPalm, which it had developed and described as "the world’s only fair trade, organic palm oil, that protects the environment while supporting smallholder growers".

It had previously used Fairpalm in household cleaning products but currently was no longer making these, and only seemed to use it in its cookies.

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

Reference:

https://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/ (28 July 2021)