After the great upheaval this year, I have been thinking more and more about the things I can do to lead a more ethically aware life. It’s been hard to make a wholesale shift but as my awareness grows, I’m increasing the number of small steps I am taking and hoping that it all adds up to the sum difference to make our planet safe.
One of the small steps I am making this year is buying gifts, not only locally but also through Traidcraft which has just put out it’s Autumn/Winter 2021 catalogue (available at the concession at Ludlow Mascall Centre).
Traidcraft is about making trade fair and thereby helping suppliers in lesser developed countries who meet Fairtrade’s awesome standards to get a better deal. Plus, the range and quality of organic and ethically made products in the catalogue really is stunning from clothing, jewellery, home décor (I’m partial to the colourful baskets), food and drink.
To understand just how Traidcraft works and how buying items benefits not just the suppliers in poorer countries but also ourselves (let’s not under estimate the power of doing good to feel good) I decided to chat to Liz Taylor, a volunteer with Traidcraft, who also runs the concession at Ludlow Mascall Centre every Thursday.
Q: How do you explain Traidcraft to your friends and family to help them understand?
Liz: Traidcraft’s mission is to create real sustainable change in the world of trade. Traidcraft is the original pioneer of Fair Trade and a response to poverty in developing countries. For over 40 years, Traidcraft has bought and sold Fair Trade goods and pioneered so many Fair Trade products – chocolate, coffee and tea, wine, charcoal, rubber, palm oil.
Traidcraft in sourcing its own branded goods goes far beyond compliance to a set of standards which Fairtrade- certified products in supermarkets and the commercial market supply. For other brands which Traidcraft sells, it also looks for high quality, Fair Trade and ethical products. It is a company which is100% transparent in the cost of its own products.
When you buy from Traidcraft, your purchases are the chance to leave your mark on the world you want to see.
Q: I’m surprised by the sheer range of good looking, quality products available (also as gift packs and hampers). Have you expanded the range recently or has it always been this way?
Liz: Traidcraft is one of the leading dedicated fair trade companies and stocks a huge range of ethical, fair trade foods and drinks and fair trade crafts and clothing from skilled farmers and producers in more than 30 developing countries. The selection of goods has changed and increased over the years to reflect growing consumer demand for fair trade, ethical and sustainable products.
Great shopping ideas
Q: Sustainability is becoming much more established. People want to make changes, they want to shop local too, is there any conflict in trying to shop FairTrade and reducing your carbon footprint by shopping as local as possible?
Liz: You can’t buy or grow a lot of products locally. Shopping locally makes absolute sense when shoppers are buying meat, apples or milk and in Shropshire, we are so lucky to have so many goods produced locally. However, what about who actually grows and supplies our coffee and tea, cocoa and bananas? Are these goods produced ethically and sustainably and producers in the developing world paid a decent price to cover their basic needs and allow them to flourish?
Q: What’s next for the Traidcraft in Ludlow? How can people get involved?
Liz: A Traidcraft presence be found in different venues such as the Traidcraft stall in Wesley’ Café in Ludlow Methodist Church; stalls in St Laurence’s Church following some Sunday morning services and a regular slot in the local produce market. Traidcraft Fairs, stalls and Pop-up Shops are also held during the run up to Christmas, around Fairtrade Fortnight, annually in February and March and at Ludlow Green Festival in the summer. There is a small team of longstanding Fair Trade volunteers.
Plans for the future aim to involve more local people, including those who have recently moved into the area, in starting or continuing on their journey as Fair Trade and ethical shoppers. This could lead to being part of informative social events and becoming more aware of how Fair Trade operates as well as being part of already existing activities. Traidraft in Ludlow has been in the last year heavily involved in the campaigning work of Traidcraft Exchange, Traidcraft’s trade development charity, on a variety of issues such as climate change and fair treatment of suppliers in the clothing industry. This will continue and grow with different campaigns being run.
Q: Do customers have to visit the Mascall Centre to view the catalogue or are there alternative ways to shop online that still benefit the Ludlow branch?
Liz: Catalogues are the initial way to find out more about Traidcraft and what it is stocked for that season. Many of the same basic products, especially foods, are a permanent feature. The Traidcraft outlet in Ludlow Mascall Centre does depend on its existence to continuing selling of Traidcraft goods and I can generally get goods in for customers if these are not in stock. I don’t stock large clothing garments but I can take orders and will return goods to Traidcraft if they are not suitable. There is a selection of accessories and socks in stock. It is a service provided locally to give consumers an opportunity to see a wide range of fair trade and ethical goods, to support Traidcraft and to promote fair trade generally.
Christmas Fair time
Come and see what a fantastic selection of Fair Trade and ethical goods are on offer from festive favourites in foods and cards to handcrafted gifts using innovative recycled materials and environmentally friendly methods of production.
Make the switch this year to Fair Trade and ethical Christmas shopping, help change the world of trade and people’s lives and feel great about it.
Traidcraft Fair Trade Christmas Fair will be held on Saturday 20th November 10am – 4pm in Ludlow Mascall Centre. Admission is free.
For more införmation contact Liz here.
To shop online visit Traidcraft shop.