By way of a definition, ‘fair trade’ is used to describe trading partnerships where companies in developed countries pay fair prices to producers in developing countries. In reality, however, fair trade is about much more than just pricing. It’s about supporting producers to grow their own businesses, helping them to have an impact on their own communities, giving them direct access to markets, and bypassing corrupt local businesses and shady government officials along the way. Fair trade is about addressing a global imbalance of power, and treating growers and artisans as equals. It’s about fighting discrimination, looking out for child welfare, and ensuring that artisans have access to the safe working conditions we all deserve, wherever we spend our days.
Fair Trade about giving artisans and growers a voice, and listening to that voice. Traidcraft is about a ‘hand up’ not a ‘hand out’.
It was started in 1979 by Richard Adams and since then it has proved that Fair Trade can work professionally. It began with church based individuals importing goods directly from artisans and growers. Then selling them straight through church stalls and markets in the UK, this cuts out the middle man.
Gradually they became partners, the team, the growers and the artisans working together to show that trade could be fair. Fair Trade was no longer about aid, it had become a collaborative process of learning and trading at the same time.
In 1992, Traidcraft jointly founded the Fair Trade Foundation and helped establish the standards that underpin today’s well-known Fairtrade Mark. Getting big companies to adapt to the principles of fair trade hasn’t been easy, but Traidcraft has been instrumental in making this happen.
1986 set up Traidcraft exchange to lobby the UK government against the worst excesses of corporate abuse and in 2013 the government set up an official supermarket watchdog with legal power to check for unethical situations in trading.
Today, Traidcraft is going back to its roots. They’re embracing all fair trade symbols equally, as they know that they’re all true to the fair trade movement, and in December 2017, Traidcraft was made an official WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade Organization, pledging their long-standing experience to an international system which brings makers, growers, and buyers together in a forum for learning. (information obtained from Traidcraft website)