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Fairtrade procurement at large sporting event
St Andrews made the most of their tenth anniversary as a Fairtrade Town in 2015 by supporting The Open to make a firm and ongoing commitment to Fairtrade. As one of the world's major sporting events, The Open has huge reach and impact.
The Fairtrade Town group first contacted The R&A, organisers of The Open, in 2008 and Fairtrade tea and coffee were available at the Championship in 2010. Fast forward to 2015, with Scotland a Fair Trade Nation and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games a powerful reminder of the potential of such events, and St Andrews felt that the timing was right to further engage with The R&A.
Mary Popple, the group's chair, noted that commitment to Fairtrade came under The R&A's broader commitment to sustainability around The Open, through their new GreenLinks programme. With catering already identified as a key area of focus, there were more detailed discussions around Fairtrade products.
The group gave The R&A the procurement document from the London 2012 Olympic Games, which acted as a valuable discussion tool for reviewing sustainability and catering at major sporting events. Mary's favourite moment was seeing the requirement for Fairtrade tea, coffee, bananas, sugar and hot chocolate confirmed in writing. As with Goal 1 for Fairtrade Towns, a written resolution is a visible and binding reminder of a commmitment to Fairtrade and is key to success. St Andrews and The R&A also made an agreement that procurement at future Open Championships will be Fairtrade wherever possible.
Learning to work together was key. Mary said the group were successful at introducing a large number of Fairtrade products because they worked closely with The R&A throughout the process and listened to the broader goals around sustainability for The Open.
St Andrew's success was testament to the group's long-standing membership and commitment. An estimated 60,000 cups of filter coffee, 10,500 tea bags, 12,500 bananas and 36,000 sugar sticks were used over the course of The Open
If you want to approach sporting events in your area:
St Andrews' advice for influencing event procurement:
- Supply useful templates
- Build relationships
- Work collaboratively