AFTER four consecutive years of making losses, Traidcraft plc is
pleading with Christians to support it because, it says, the fight
for fair trade is not over.
The interim chief executive of Traidcraft, Andy Biggs, said on
Tuesday that the success of the fairtrade movement had led to "the
myth that the job is done".
"The movement as a whole has been pretty sucessful at getting
marked products out into mainstream," he said. "The fairtrade
market is estimated to be worth around £1 billion, and we have been
at the forefront of pioneering that.
"But we have not been making a distinction between the great
stuff that the Fairtrade mark represents and the amazing and better
stuff that we as an organisation represent."
The work of Traidcraft went beyond the Fairtrade mark, he said,
including working with products not yet ready for certification,
such as palm oil from West Africa. Traidcraft is helping
co-operatives to gain access to the UK market through cleaning
Although its charitable wing has had "phenomenal success" in
raising money, Traidcraft is asking churches to offer the same
level of support to its trading arm by buying from Traidcraft plc
and becoming "fair traders": people who buy and sell its
When the Tearfund Created range stopped trading last year,
Traidcraft had taken on the business, and supporters, Mr Biggs
said, had told him: "If only we had known, we would have got behind
"We are appealing to churches to get alongside us," he said. "We
have a very clear plan to go forward: to be the best of fair
trade." Without Traidcraft, "embryonic supply chains", such as
local co-operatives that packed sugar in Mauritius, would suffer,
"Our commitment is to making poverty history in those regions,
and big business hasn't got fairness and justice in supply chains
everywhere," he said. "We are not about to go out of business but
want to have bigger impact."
Traidcraft was due to visit government departments yesterday to
lobby for trade justice.