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Keep faith with us, says Traidcraft

03 July 2015

TRAIDCRAFT

Positive thinking: Andy Biggs 

Positive thinking: Andy Biggs 

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 products.

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 products.

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 it more."

"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, he suggested.

"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.

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