Christian business gets Queen's award
An organisation set up to model a Christian approach to business has collected the Queenís Award for Enterprise.
Traidcraft plc has been granted the Sustainable Development award for its pioneering work on using social accounting and a partner review process to promote dialogue with all its stakeholders.
Set up by a group of Christians on Tyneside in 1979 with a mission to fight poverty through trade, Traidcraft grew into the UKís leading fair trade organisation. Currently, the trading company and the associated charity are working with over 100 producer groups in more than 30 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Chief Executive Paul Chandler said: ìWe believe fair trade is integral to sustainable development and that fair trade rests upon honest dialogue and transparency between all parties. Traidcraft has always pursued a stakeholder approach in fulfilling its mission of using trade as a means of fighting poverty in the developing world.î
In practice this has meant regular dialogue with a stakeholder community which includes overseas partners and suppliers as well as UK customers and suppliers, shareholders (of the plc), funders (of the charity), public and governmental institutions, and staff.
ìFor more than a quarter of a century Traidcraft has pioneered an approach to business which challenges the mainstream to adopt ways of doing business that are both equitable and sustainable,î said Mr Chandler.
ìOur Christian foundation supplies us with two very powerful biblical models on which to base our work: the city on the hill, and the leaven in the loaf. Both demand application, by example and activity, of the principles and ethics we hold to; both bring about change in the community to which they are addressed.
ìThis award recognises that achievement and re-inforces our message that if a small organisation like Traidcraft can do it - and benefit from it - then so can everyone.î
In 1993, Traidcraft was the first plc in the UK to publish a fully-audited set of social accounts, a practice it has maintained ever since.
"Our social accounts are further bolstered by our continual Partner Review process, which examines key areas of our relationship with our producers,î said Mr Chandler.
"Reporting on the process is built into the organisational learning programme for each quarter, allowing us to make practical and timely contributions to the sustainable development of our network of partners.î
Traidcraftís contribution to the practice of social accounting has been recognised by the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants. This year they were the outright winner  of the ACCA Best UK Social Accounts Awards - the third year in succession, they have won or been runner up.