Fighting Poverty Through Trade
Traidcraft and St. Mary’s
St. Mary’s association with Traidcraft followed an initiative started by Elaine De Ste Croix. Having been a long term supporter of Fairtrade and empathising with their endeavour to support people in developing countries trying to struggle out of poverty, becoming a distributor became a natural step forwards. The organisation is an ideal platform to do something positive to assist and empower people to change their lives, and to raise awareness of the conditions that our brothers and sisters in Christ have to live with on a daily basis.
Traidcraft is an established, well respected business and charity, with plenty of resources available to use, both in church and school. Elaine took a wee talk and fun quiz with youngsters in the local primary school, and held discussions with the young people in St. Mary’s catechism groups. Following their enthusiasm, when the opportunity arose to engage and work with Traidcraft, St Mary’s involvement began……………..
What Traidcraft do
Traidcraft sells the UK’s widest range of fair trade products, runs life-changing development projects and campaigns hard to bring about trade justice. Traidcraft plc, their trading company, is one of the leading dedicated fair trade companies in the UK and globally.
Their Mission – To fight poverty through trade, practising and promoting approaches to trade that help people in developing countries to transform their lives.
Their Vision – A world freed from the scandal of poverty, where trade is just, and people and communities can flourish.
They source the UK’s widest range of fair trade foods, beverages, household cleaning, charcoal and rubber products, as well as fair trade crafts and clothing, from fair trade suppliers in more than 30 developing countries. Their full range is available at http://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/
They are known as fair trade pioneers and have been busy innovating new approaches and sectors in fair trade for more than three decades
Traidcraft support and work alongside small-scale farmers, workers and artisans to trade their way out of poverty and help them, their families and communities to flourish.
They focus on sourcing products from marginalised and small-scale producer groups across the developing world.
Unlike most commercial companies that sell Fairtrade marked products, Traidcraft plc is dedicated to applying fair trade principles across their whole range.
What is Fair Trade?
It is believed that injustice in trade is a global issue. In a world where the gap between rich and poor continues to grow and where, in business, maximising profit is higher up the agenda than social responsibility, millions of hard-working and skilled producers and workers throughout the developing world remain in poverty.
Fair trade was created as an alternative way of doing trade. It is based on partnership, which means that the interests of farmers and workers are just as important as other commercial considerations. It also represents one solution to poverty and a model for development.
Key Principles of Fair Trade
- Trading practices are fair and not one-sided.
- Prices paid are fair and sufficient for producers and workers to earn more than enough to merely meet their day-to-day needs.
- Payments are often made in advance to ensure the supplier can fulfil orders.
- Producers and workers have a voice, whether organised into groups or involved in workplaces where there is freedom of association.
Safe working conditions, non-discrimination and welfare of children.
The Wider World of Fair Trade
Fair Trade has grown enormously since the 1980s. There are lots of organisations throughout the world who share the same mission and philosophy as Traidcraft. They call themselves Fair Trade Organisations (FTOs) and often work together.
Traidcraft is a member of two larger membership organisations.
- The European Fair Trade Association (EFTA), which is a group of like-minded FTOs in Europe, collaborating in product development, purchasing and a whole range of other things.
- The World Fair Organisation (WFTO), which is a larger global membership body of FTOs and importantly includes membership in the global South – in other words producers from Africa, Central and Latin America and Asia who are seeking to benefit from Fair Trade.
Why Traidcraft is Different
Fair trade isn’t just part of their business, it’s all of their business. And they are 100% committed to it.
Fairtrade certification and the development of the FAIRTRADE Mark are great.
But they would love you to buy Traidcraft products because they go far beyond mere compliance with a set of standards.
Their approach is different. Traidcraft is about more than just fair trade:
- They focus on the most marginalised groups in developing countries, often working with suppliers that mainstream businesses would choose not to work with.
- Traidcraft try to understand suppliers’ problems and assist in finding solutions. They seek funding to implement short or long-term projects to help suppliers grow and develop sustainable businesses. Read more about these projects at http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/development-projects
- They try to ensure that the people who make or grow our products are connected to the people who buy them by telling their stories and showing their pictures.
- There are many types of products that are not covered by the standards that allow a Fairtrade Mark to be applied. They invest their time to ensure the key principles of Fair Trade are followed so that they can call a product ‘fair trade’ even when that product does not carry a Fairtrade Mark.
- For their entire history they have been pioneering and innovating in new Fair Trade products and sectors, very often as a catalyst for the development of standards which may then be made available to all through the Fairtrade Mark.
- They have a strong sense of partnership with many of their suppliers. Relationships are important and, to bring their range of products to the UK, they work directly with their suppliers or through like-minded organisations who themselves work directly with their suppliers.
Policy and Campaigns
Traidcraft’s policy team campaigns for change. They lobby governments, and work with businesses and institutions, to deliver policies that ensure a fairer deal for people in developing countries.
What they do:
- Conduct research and monitor developments in trade, investment and business practice.
- Lobby those with the power to make a difference.
- Encourage our supporters to campaign for change.
Working with partners from around the world, here are some of the things they have achieved:
- UK companies have to report publicly on their impact on local communities and the environment.
- Delayed the damaging trade agreements between Europe and some of the world’s poorest countries.
- An independent watchdog was set up with the power to fine supermarkets for abusive practices towards their suppliers.
The FAIRTRADE Mark
The Fairtrade Foundation licenses the FAIRTRADE Mark to thousands of products in the UK. The supply chain of each of these products must comply with the Fairtrade Standards. The Mark is recognised by over 80% of the UK population. Traidcraft is proud of the fact that we were one of the founders of the Fairtrade Foundation back in the 1990’s.
For more information on Traidcraft: Resources, Campaigns, Development Projects, Buying Fair Trade, and Events, please visit their website http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/
To make a donation http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/donate-now