Traidcraft – fighting poverty through trade

Most of you will know about Fair Trade and Traidcraft as most supermarkets are increasingly being asked to promote more and more of their products. 

The Anglican Church is doing the same, having been asked, in the first instance, by the Diocese, to use Traidcraft coffee and tea when serving refreshments for and in the Church. 

We,at St John’s, have taken this one step further in that, over the past 5/6 years we have our own shop/stall which is set out each Sunday morning after the 9.30am service and whilst parishioners enjoy their coffee and biscuits (courtesy of traidcraft) they are able to browse through the items from the current Traidcraft catalogue from which you can place orders. We have a comprehensive display of greetings cards, many with a subdued Christian theme alongside amusing ones to cheer sick friends, gifts ranging from inexpensive but tasteful ornaments, candle holders, jewellery, scarves, biscuits and chocolate with different teas and coffees and small toys and purses for the children.  

Over the last year our total purchases amounted to over £2,200 of which we make a small profit of around 10%  but, of course, our main aim is to promote the work of Traidcraft and fair trade.  

In all, there are some 6,000 Fair Traders and together we have achieved over £7.5 million of sales for our producers. This support has been all the more important this year, as they have been suffering like many others from the impact of the recession, and also from growing levels of mainstream competition in the world of fair trade. The total turnover has declined in the past year, particularly as a result of weaker sales to wholesalers and supermarkets, and although they still expect to make a small surplus, this has not been at the levels they need to be able to invest for the future and expand opportunities for more producers. Traidcraft Exchange has also been struggling to raise all the finances that it needs to support its growing programmes, and will consequently have suffered a second year with a major deficit.  

In these demanding economic times their producers need our support more than ever. The increasing of visibility of Fairtrade-marked products in the mainstream doesn’t change the fact that fair trade still accounts for only 1% of the total sales of potentially fairly traded products in the UK, a tiny proportion of what it could be and the scandal of global poverty is as great as ever. Our support for Traidcraft means that the benefit of fair trade sales get ploughed back into the greater mission of working for a fairer world where all can flourish and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
 There remains much to be done but with our continuing efforts and prayers behind them, Traidcraft will continue to achieve great things and begin to change the way the world works. 

If you wish to speak with someone from the Church about anything to do with Traidcraft please contact Jean Newson who will be pleased to hear from you.  Jean can be contacted in church most Sundays or by phone on 01279 819062.