Trade that doesn’t cost the earth 

 
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The current model of trade is harming the planet - it's unsustainable. 

Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interlinked. It is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer most from the impact of climate change and pollution - the very people who have contributed least to the problem.

In a world of finite resources and a rapidly changing climate, Traidcraft Exchange believes in supporting trade and business to become environmentally responsible and climate-resilient.

Scroll down to learn more about our current projects working on environmental sustainability.

Eco-friendly textile production

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With a workforce of over 35 million people, the textiles sector is India’s second-largest employer; yet its contribution to the country’s development is hampered by poor environmental and health and safety practices. Degradation and depletion of natural resources is commonplace, as is the use of toxic chemicals causing pollution and health problems for artisans, many of whom remain economically and socially vulnerable.

Traidcraft Exchange has supported textile artisans to form community-based organisations and associations to enhance their negotiating position and establish a recognised, collective identity. The project has linked 13,000 artisans to social security entitlements, as well as providing them with training on eco-friendly production practices and occupational health and safety.

 
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Govind dyeing textiles in his shop in Jaipur. Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/Allison Joyce

 

Project name: Going Green

Where are we working? Northern India; states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh

How long for? January 2014 - December 2018 (4 years)

Who is benefiting? 15,000 textiles artisans

Project aims:

  • To directly contribute to economic competitiveness and poverty reduction in India by reducing the economic, social and environmental costs of the textile industry

  • To build sustainable businesses of textile artisans and improve their working conditions through efficient eco-friendly processes, access to resources and increased demand for ‘green’ products

Who are we working with? Our partner AIACA (All India Artisans and Craftworkers Association) with funding from Big Lottery Fund.

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Innovative business through textile re-use

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The “backyard garments” sector emerged in Saidpur, Bangladesh in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when local workers started producing recycled clothes for the domestic market using the scrap fabrics (“jhut”) discarded by mainstream clothing factories. Local businesses have since set up their own association, selling recycled clothes domestically and exporting to neighbouring countries such as India and Nepal.

As well as being an innovative way to reduce stress on the environment by re-using discarded fabric, the backyard garments sector is a potential pathway out of extreme poverty, especially for women. However, businesses face challenges due to a lack of market knowledge, necessary equipment and skills, which this project will address by exploring how to improve businesses’ productivity and supporting them to expand.

 
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Garment worker Shakila at home with her sewing machine Credit: Traidcraft Exchange/GMB Akash

 

Project name: Unlocking the potential of the backyard garments sector to reduce poverty and waste in South Asia

Where are we working? North-west Bangladesh; Rangpur Division; Saidpur

How long for? January 2019 - December 2019 (1 year)

Who is benefiting? Approximately 10,000 workers in the backyard garments sector

Project aims:

  • To unlock the potential of the backyard garments sector by undertaking an in-depth research study investigating its current impact and potential for growth

  • To offer hands-on business development support to people working in backyard garment businesses to foster their growth

Who are we working with? Our partner TRAID, who is funding the project.

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