Traidcraft Update from CEO, Robin Roth
The last few months have been some of the hardest in our history. Facing up to the fact that the old way of conducting business simply wasn't working any longer was tough.
We were trying to cover too many bases in an ever more competitive world, and had to face the fact that a business model which worked 40 years ago, may not be so relevant in the 21st century. But, once we knew what we had to do, and once we felt the surge of support from so many of you, the ride was easier to negotiate. Thank you.
We have completely restructured the way Traidcraft will function going forwards, but have also ensured that every single supplier received full payment for all their deliveries.
Looking forward I feel genuine excitement. We are leaner and nimbler, and we share enormous passion about what we do.
Fair trade has been the most monumental success, far beyond the dreams of the pioneers who started things off back in the 1970s. It is mainstream and it’s here to stay. We need to just take a moment and be thankful for all the hours of effort and (mostly unpaid) work from volunteers who got us here.
We know also that fair trade will never be perfect, and that it’s easy to snipe and complain that supermarkets have merely jumped on the bandwagon of convenience, but it is still possible to enjoy the knowledge that hard-nosed, passionless and ruthless buyers in multinational corporations know that they can’t drop the label without a huge stink and plenty of adverse publicity.
This is fantastic. How wonderful that we are such a pain in the neck!
Deal or No Deal
As for Traidcraft, we are looking at the future and we see a lot of turbulence ahead. We don’t know whether tariffs of around 10% will hit us on April 1st, or if the pound will drop again if we leave the EU without a deal. We don’t know what paperwork will have to be completed to move goods in or out of the UK. This is frustrating, but almost irrelevant in the face of the real challenges ahead.
Climate change is having a significant, occasionally existential, impact on our producer friends. As one coffee farmer told us, each year the co-operative is having to plant its coffee bushes further up the mountain to escape the rampant infestations plaguing the valleys due to the warmer weather. At some point, he told us, you run out of mountain, and what does he do then?
We know that the health of the soil is the beginning of all good farming and we are keen to pursue our work with cooperatives who are working organically, feeding bio-diversity, developing rain capture systems, processing and re-mulching their waste efficiently. It may mean that we all have to learn to live a little more simply, investing in what is good rather than buying what is cheap.
"We are determined to be good stewards of our resources: this means putting the true principles of fair trade into commercial practice."
We have enough to be getting on with, and we want to make sure that our partners have enough too. I hope you will continue to support us on this mission.
Robin Roth - CEO