Charity launches emergency Christmas appeal for artisans hit by Brexit fallout

22 November 2018

The international development charity Traidcraft Exchange has launched an emergency call for donations to help suppliers to the UK from some of the poorest parts of the world this Christmas.

Its urgent producer appeal aims to raise funds to mitigate the impact of lost orders as a result of the changing UK retail market and currency fluctuations associated with Brexit uncertainty.

The charity’s sister business, Traidcraft plc, recently announced plans to downsize and reduce the number of product lines it sells in the UK. The appeal aims to raise funds to support suppliers, including those that the fair trade company will no longer buy from.

The fall in the value of sterling in the wake of the EU referendum has been cited as a factor that accelerated the demise of Traidcraft plc’s trading model.

More than 8,000 overseas workers are at risk of losing their jobs or seeing a decline in income or benefits.

Artisans from India and Bangladesh making a living from selling fair trade crafts are amongst the hardest hit.

“For years artisans from poor and isolated regions have been able to sell to the UK fair trade market. Now that existing deals are coming to an abrupt end we owe it to them to cushion the blow and help them chart a new future,” said Kate Dixon, a spokesperson for Traidcraft Exchange.

Many of the affected producers have a long-standing relationship with UK customers.

Swajan in Bangladesh is one of Traidcraft plc’s oldest suppliers, producing beautiful hand-embroidered cards. It works in rural areas and employs over 750 people, the majority of whom are women and benefit from the safe working environment and flexible hours the company offers. They face a 65% drop in orders, putting jobs at risk.

Traidcraft Exchange plans to use some of the funds raised from its appeal to offer artisans tailored and tangible support.

“Every supplier has different needs – some will need help finding alternative fair trade buyers and some will need short term direct financial support,” added Kate Dixon.

Donations to the urgent producer appeal can be made via the Traidcraft Exchange website - www.traidcraft.org.uk/producers - and over the phone: 0191 497 6445.

ENDS

For more information or to interview Kate Dixon contact Tom Sharman: tom.sharman@traidcraft.org or 07757 753 318

Notes for editors:

  • Traidcraft Exchange is an international development charity which uses the power of trade to bring about lasting solutions to poverty. It runs development programmes in South Asia and Africa, works directly with businesses to improve their supply chains, and does advocacy and campaigning in the UK to promote justice and fairness in international trade. It works closely with specialist fair trade company Traidcraft plc. Traidcraft Exchange is a registered charity, no. 1048752: https://www.traidcraft.org.uk/

  • Money raised from Traidcraft Exchange’s urgent producer appeal will go towards supporting affected suppliers alongside providing the funding needed to continue the charity’s work with over 300,000 people in developing countries.

Tom Sharman