The Ludlow Fairtrade Town Group regularly raises money to support Transform Trade (formerly Traidcraft Exchange). Transform Trade is a development charity that uses the power of trade to create lasting solutions to poverty.
Transform Trade champions a model called “people centred trade”. This is a system where trade values people over profit, and where business is used as a tool for the benefit of the planet and its people. Transform Trade partners with communities who are experiencing injustice in trade, empowering these communities take the lead, make decisions and build local skills wherever possible.
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The history of Traidcraft and the Fair Trade movement
Until 2022, Transform Trade was one part of a wider social movement called Traidcraft. Traidcraft was established in 1979 as the original fair trade pioneer in the UK.
Traidcraft were heavily involved in establishing the Fairtrade label, Fairtrade Foundation and World Fair Trade Organisation. They advocated the importance of organic farming, sustainability, and transparency to the lives of growers and artisans around the world.
Traidcraft had two components: Traidcraft Plc and Traidcraft Exchange. Traidcraft Plc sold fairly traded products sourced from growers and artisans worldwide, who would not normally have a route in to market. These products were usually sold though a community of advocates called “Fairtraders” in the UK who purchased stock wholesale and sold it within their local churches and communities, and then sent the proceeds back to Traidcraft. Traidcraft Exchange was the charitable arm of the organisation, fighting against injustice in global trade through policy, advocacy and international development projects.
In 2022, Traidcraft Plc and Traidcraft Exchange became two separate entities and Traidcraft Exchange rebranded as Transform Trade. While still working closely together, this gave them more freedom and flexibility to make a difference in their respective work and projects.
Trading ethically within an inherently unjust system is always going to be difficult. Unfortunately, the pressure from the cost of living crisis, and before that the Covid 19 pandemic and Brexit, meant that Traidcraft Plc went in to administration in early 2023.
The Fair Trade movement as we know it would not exist without Traidcraft. The organisation was a key part of the Fair Trade movement in the UK and a champion for trade justice for over 40 years, and the pioneer for Fairtrade products such as wine, rubber gloves, charcoal and Fair Trade Palm oil. Traidcraft did 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. 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. The good news is that now, thanks to organisations such as Traidcraft, the existing Fair Trade movement is big and robust enough to stand the rigours of the market today and into the future.