Traidcraft plc is one of the oldest dedicated fair trade companies in the world. Founded in 1979, the company gave structure to a number of pre-cursor volunteer groups and initiatives that had emerged in the UK in the 1970s.
Traidcraft plc went on to co-found IFAT, (now WFTO), EFTA and the Fairtrade Foundation.
Having introduced the first fairly traded crafts, coffee, tea, sugar, chocolates, biscuits, wine, rubber, charcoal, palm oil, rice, jams and laundry products, Traidcraft effectively established both fair trade and Fair Trade in the UK.
Traidcraft's main customers have always been its volunteer Reps who re-sell Traidcraft products in their local communities and churches.
In recent years, Traidcraft plc has been a victim of its own success: fairly traded goods are available in the mainstream to such an extent that the place for a specialist importer of fairly traded goods became questionable. The company nearly closed in 2018 but was just able to re-structure its activities in time to avoid closure.
Today, Traidcraft operates on a self-management principle. There is no management hierarchy, but clearly defined roles for all members of staff. Staff who fulfill various roles have explicit authority to enact the responsibilities attached to these roles with significant autonomy.
Questions of remuneration, working conditions, culture etc are not defined from above, but from within. Our organigram is confusing for those who are used to classic hierarchies, but we find we are much more adaptable and coherent as an organisation. Our SAR refers repeatedly to the lack of management.
Our business model has been re-set since 2018. We are no longer able to import directly from organizations in the South. This we regret - and the current strategy does not reflect the long term ambition - but we have had to retreat in order to regroup.
We are focused on providing consumers with a range of fairly traded, sustainable products that enables and empowers them to live with greater awareness to and respect for our environment.