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Traidcraft plc
Founded1979; 42 years ago (1979)
HeadquartersGateshead, Tyne & Wear
Key people
Robin Roth (CEO)
ProductsGrocery, fashion and accessories, paper, crafts
  • Decrease £5,400,000 (2020)
  • £8,087,000 (2019)
Number of employees
12[2] (2018)
Traidcraft Exchange
Text alternative for those who do not see the image
Formation1986; 35 years ago (1986)[3]
Registration no.1048752
Legal statusCharity

Traidcraft is a UK-based Fairtrade organisation, established in 1979. The organisation has two components: a public limited company called Traidcraft plc, which sells fairly traded products in the United Kingdom; and a development charity called Traidcraft Exchange[5] that works with poor producers in Africa and Asia.

Traidcraft was a co-founder of the Fairtrade Foundation.[6]


Traidcraft was set up as a faith organisation in August 1979. It was launched from the top floor of a 1920s warehouse (India House, Carliol Square) in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne by Richard Adams with six members of staff. Its first catalogue was hand-drawn featuring a small selection of jute products from Bangladesh. Within two years tea, coffee and subsequently a wide range of other foods were introduced.[7]

In September 1983 the organisation moved into a 58,000-square-foot (5,400 m2) warehouse on the Team Valley Trading Estate in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear.

In 2004 it opened a second warehouse on the Team Valley, which houses the quality control, food packaging and logistics departments. Traidcraft also has a policy unit based in London, taking the staff total to over 140. It sells fair trade food, clothes/accessories, paper and crafts. Traidcraft works with more than 100 producer groups in over 30 countries around the world.[8]

In 2018 it was announced that the trading arm of Traidcraft was facing closure.[9] A consultation on its future lead to continued operation, with a "slimmed-down" focus on popular food products.[10][11]

Traidcraft structure[edit]

Traidcraft has overseas offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Hyderabad, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Traidcraft Foundation[edit]

The Traidcraft Foundation was set up to ensure that Traidcraft plc and Traidcraft Exchange remain focused on their principal aim. It was also the Founder member of the Traidcraft Exchange charity and as such appoints all its directors.

The Traidcraft Foundation holds the Guardian share in Traidcraft plc. This gives the Foundation the power of veto over election of directors to the plc board, payments of dividends and to the Memorandum and Articles of Association. The Foundation must also be consulted on Traidcraft's major strategic plans and has a role of representing the views of external stakeholders in the social accounting process.

Traidcraft plc[edit]

Traidcraft plc is the trading arm of the organisation. The products are sourced from producers in over 30 developing countries including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Kenya, Malawi, Chile and Cuba. Products include coffee, tea, fruit juice, sugar, wine, clothing, jewellery, paper and craft items. Among their food products is a snack bar called Geobar, Fairtrade chocolate, dried fruit, honey, pasta, rice and muesli.

Traidcraft plc holds a 10% stake in Cafédirect which it set up jointly with Equal Exchange Trading, Oxfam and Twin Trading.[12]

Traidcraft is a founder member of the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA). Traidcraft also helped establish the Fairtrade Foundation with CAFOD, Christian Aid, New Consumer, Oxfam and World Development Movement in 1992. It was also instrumental in the establishment of Newcastle-based co-operative lending society Shared Interest in 1990.[13]

Traidcraft plc aims to tackle poverty by creating a market for fair trade producers and to show the commercial viability of the fair trade model.

Traidcraft Exchange[edit]

Traidcraft Exchange is the charitable arm of the Traidcraft organisation. It provides direct support and advice to producers in developing countries, and campaigns for fair trade policies and practices.

The charity runs development projects across South Asia, East Africa and West Africa. Its programmes particularly focus on the tea sector, honey sector, handcrafted textiles and climate resilient agriculture.[14]

It lobbies and advises governments and organisations with the aim of improving trade rules and market access for small organisations in the developing world. This is done by the Policy Unit which focuses on trade and development policies within the UK Government, the European Union and the World Trade Organization. The Policy Unit also works with other fair trade organisations in the UK, Europe and internationally. In 2018 it successfully campaigned for several major British tea brands to publish details of their suppliers.[15]

The Traidcraft Exchange was awarded the 1999 Worldaware Award for Not-for-Profit Organisations in recognition of its positive work.[16]

Social accounts[edit]

Traidcraft was the first public limited company in the United Kingdom to produce a set of social accounts and has been doing so every year since 1993.[17] The social accounts that are produced are a joint account of the impact both companies work has on various stakeholders. The social accounts are treated with the same seriousness as the financial accounts. They are also submitted to an external audit, and approval at the Annual General Meeting.

Traidcraft has won awards for the social accounts it reports. In 2005 it was awarded the Social Enterprise Champion (Organisation) Award at the New Statesman Upstarts awards.[18] In 2006 it received the Queen's Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development.[19]

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) gives out an award annually for Corporate social responsibility, in which Traidcraft has been recognised several times:[20]

  • 2004 – Runner-up
  • 2005 - Best social report[21]
  • 2006 - Commendation for disclosure on stakeholder engagement[22]
  • 2007 - Joint Commendation for SME reporting[23]

Meet the People tours[edit]

Traidcraft has run trips to visit fair trade producers for over 20 years. The tour includes visits to workshops, workers' homes as well as visiting sites of historic interest. Traidcraft Meet the People tours were highly commended in a sustainable travel agency's award for Best Tour Operator in 2005.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Filing history". Companies House. TRAIDCRAFT PUBLIC LIMITED COMPANY. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  2. ^ Lynch, Oscar (18 December 2018). "Traidcraft CEO looks forward to relaunching business". Insider Media Ltd.
  3. ^ "Traidcraft history". Traidcraft Exchange. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  4. ^ "THE TRAIDCRAFT EXCHANGE - Charity 1048752". Charity Commission. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  5. ^ Organisation's website, About Traidcraft Archived 2008-12-07 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "UK fair trade's Gateshead origins". BBC News. 1 March 2010.
  7. ^ Alldred, Sarah (2 September 2020). "A Fairtrade story: Celebrating the history of Traidcraft". Co-operative News.
  8. ^ Traidcraft website Archived 2009-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Gateshead fair trade 'pioneer' Traidcraft faces closure". BBC News. 20 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Is this the end of the road for Traidcraft?". BBC News. 4 October 2018.
  11. ^ Strange, Ruth (23 November 2018). "Traidcraft's plan to continue fair trading". Ethical Consumer.
  12. ^ Davies, Iain A.; Ryals, Lynette J. (October 2010). "The Role of Social Capital in the Success of Fair Trade" (PDF). Journal of Business Ethics. 96 (2): 317–338. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0468-3.
  13. ^ Mellor, Mary; Moore, Geoff (March 2005). "Business for a Social Purpose: Traidcraft and shared interest" (PDF). Development. 48 (1): 84–91. doi:10.1057/palgrave.development.1100118. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2006.
  14. ^ "Programmes". Traidcraft Exchange. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Yorkshire Tea, Twinings, Tetley, Clipper & PG Tips become first major tea brands to publish supplier list". Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. 3 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Worldaware Business Awards 1999 - The Worldaware Award for Not-for-Profit Organizations". Retrieved 2008-02-24.
  17. ^ Dey, Colin (12 June 2007). "Social accounting at Traidcraft plc: A struggle for the meaning of fair trade". Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal. 20 (3): 423–445. doi:10.1108/09513570710748571. hdl:1893/25742.
  18. ^ "Who won last year?". Upstarts Awards. New Statesman. 2005. Archived from the original on 17 December 2005. Social Enterprise Champion (Organisation) Award: TraidcraftCS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  19. ^ "No. 57962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 April 2006. p. 4.
  20. ^ "Co-op Bank wins third honour". TriplePundit. 30 November 1999.
  21. ^ "Sustainability reporting awards". Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Archived from the original on 20 March 2006.
  22. ^ "Vodafone takes top spot at ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards". Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. 2 March 2007. Archived from the original on 6 March 2007.
  23. ^ "BT wins at ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards". Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. 13 Dec 2007. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007.
  24. ^ "2005 Responsible Tourism Award winners". Responsible Travel. Retrieved 30 April 2021.

External links[edit]