Early in 2023 we received the devastating news that Traidcraft Plc, a founder of the Fair Trade movement, has gone in to administration.

This is a very sad time indeed, especially for those who have been involved with Traidcraft for its 40 year history.

Liz Taylor, who ran the Traidcraft shop at Ludlow Mascall Centre for many years, reflects on her time as a Fairtrader and campaigner for Traidcraft.

As the Fairtrader at Ludlow Mascall Centre for the last 23 years, I am still processing the news and coming to terms with the loss of Traidcraft in Gateshead and locally.

Over the years I built up a strong bond with the Traidcraft team and with Fairtraders around the UK. I have such fond memories of visits to Gateshead HQ and the Roadshows put on in different locations around the UK. The shop in LMC has been a large part of my life and others too. There has been a strong Traidcraft presence in Ludlow since the 1980s and our Fairtrade Town was established in 2002 from the old Traidcraft Group.

Trading ethically within a system that is unjust was always going to be difficult – especially during a cost of living crisis and before that, the Pandemic and Brexit (where if your business traded in dollars not sterling, large losses were made). From the start, the odds were stacked against Traidcraft but the band of dedicated staff and supporters over the years have shown huge love and passion in putting justice at the heart of the trade. 

The Fair Trade movement as we know it would not exist without Traidcraft. The organisation has been a key part of the fair trade movement here in the UK and founding member of the Fairtrade Foundation. Over the years, Traidcraft has done incredible work with smaller producer groups – going that extra mile by helping them find a route to market where no one else could or would. Traidcraft was the pioneer for many Fair Trade commodities such as wine, rubber for gloves, charcoal and Fair Trade Palm oil. Thanks to Traidcraft, there are much better standards and procedures in place to protect the rights and dignity of growers and producers all over the world. 

The mission to combat trade injustice and poverty is far from complete but the Fair Trade movement that now exists is big and robust enough to stand the rigours of the market today and into the future.”

While the loss of Traidcraft is a blow, the Ludlow Fairtrade Town Group is continuing to promote Fairtrade certified, fairly traded and ethical goods in Ludlow.

In the food sector, independent grocery shops such as Myriad and Broad Bean, and the two Oxfam shops in Ludlow, work hard to stock a range of Fairtrade certified / fairly traded products. Our local supermarkets, such as Tesco, Aldi and Mid Counties Coop Food Store also stock Fairtrade certified food. In the craft sector, there are independent shops here stocking a lovely range of fairly traded goods such as toys, clothing and ceramics – visit the shopping guide on our website to discover them.

Although Traidcraft will not be supplying goods in the future, we know there’s strong support for Fairtrade locally, as was demonstrated by the fantastic response we had to our recent Fairtrade Fortnight activities.

We look to you all to continue to support trade justice and climate justice by buying Fairtrade and fairly traded goods whenever and wherever you shop.

Later this year the Fairtrade Town Group hopes to produce an update of the Fair Trade shopping guide on both the website and in print.

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