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The view of Traidcraft – Articulating our Mission in Today’s Market

Traidcraft was founded as a Christian response to poverty. We take this responsibility seriously and sincerely. Our responsibility today is to hear the voice of future generations and be the kind of business that they need. Millions of young people are waiting for a response. Most decision makers are not hearing. Many are not even listening. Few are acting. We are.

Committed to telling the truth about climate change.
For some farming communities the effects of climate change are already catastrophic, and their livelihoods have been destroyed, or soon will be.

Representing thousands of independent scientists, the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has spoken. They have said that it is possible to limit average global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels (circa 1850) if we act now and with conviction. If we breach the 1.5C limit we begin to trigger ‘tipping points’ that will multiply the warming process beyond our ability to act.

We can still act. We need to stop denying the science. We need to stop pretending that this isn’t our problem.

Part of the solution is that we need to consume less.
Each citizen in the UK “consumes” around 6.5 tonnes of carbon each year. A sustainable future would limit us to around 1 tonne each. A flight to the Mallorca and back “costs” about 0.5 tonnes of carbon. Eating meat “costs” about 200kg of carbon per person per year. Buying new clothes each year, on average, “costs” each one of us about 700kg of carbon. 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from farming. If we are serious about hearing future generations, we need to “spend” less and think about what we are eating.

As a business it is counter-intuitive to preach the need to consume less. But it is the right thing to do. We want to offer solutions; buying better, less carbon intensive food is important. So, buy recycled, local, organic, and fairly traded goods in that order.

We work with small farmer organisations who have pioneered circular farming techniques: putting carbon back in the ground through re-forestation and composting. It is possible to grow carbon neutral food, but it isn’t easy, and while you will need to pay more, it is far cheaper than the real “cost” of cheap, subsidised industrial food.

We see stewardship of the earth and its resources as a clear expression of our Christian faith.

Part of the solution is how we manage ourselves.
We cannot expect to be a part of the solution if we use the same, tired systems that are largely responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. Gone are the days when privileged, white males should be allowed to decide a company’s (or even the country’s) future.

We are committed to self-organisation. Power is democratised to those who need to make decisions and we operate no hierarchy. We have reduced the range of salaries from 1:6 to 1: 2.4. We decide together how we wish to behave and what is important to us. There is no boss, there is no veto, there are only opportunities to grow and expand on our mission. “We” are part of the solution.

Part of the solution is in breaking rules.
Traidcraft began by challenging the orthodoxy that you couldn’t be competitive if you paid a proper wage to farmers and artisans. We broke that rule.

The rules we need to break today are different; today’s rule says that we can consume voraciously and stupidly.

We reject and object to the mindless feeding frenzy that is Black Friday. That day we will be closing our warehouse and addressing our carbon footprint by gardening at our HQ and addressing social injustice by running a refreshment station at Newcastle Cathedral.

Part of the solution… is being part of the solution.
It always takes a few people to start the process rolling. We may fail, but Traidcraft is serious about being a 1.5c company.

The article above is reproduced from the most recent (Nov 2019) Traidcraft update and the views expressed are those of Traidcraft specifically.

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