Universities and Colleges

Take action in your institution to join a worldwide movement for change.

What is a Fairtrade University or College?

A Fairtrade University or College is one that has made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade.

Supporters ensure that as many Fairtrade products as possible, including food, drink and clothing, are available in as many places as possible in and around their university or college. Increasing the use and sales of Fairtrade products can have a huge impact for producers and their communities.

They also raise awareness of Fairtrade with students and staff and the benefits that it brings to workers and farmers in developing countries.

New for Autumn 2018

The Fairtrade Foundation and the NUS are proud to announce the new Fairtrade University and College Award.

The new, redeveloped award recognises a wider range of ways that institutions engage with Fairtrade and offers opportunities to develop activities year on year.

NUS research tells us that 90% of students say they want to buy more products that don’t harm the people that produce them and 84% say they trust the Fairtrade Mark the most of all product marks. There is a huge appetite amongst students to understand the impact the products they buy are having on the people and the planet along the supply chain, and to buy ethically sourced products. The partnership between the Fairtrade Foundation and NUS, with support from a group of pilot institutions has allowed the development of a robust but achievable set of standards for the revised award.

The new award scheme will build on existing offers, taking on board previous feedback from the sector on what institutions truly value, as well as what changes they would like to see, such as more scope for continual improvement, recognition of their wider ethical sourcing efforts and more ideas and support for developing activities in your institution.

Key differences in the new award are:

  • The introduction of new themes and actions in the award criteria, offering opportunity for deeper engagement across a broader range of areas.
  • The introduction of tiered award levels to enhance scope for continual improvement and long-term engagement.
  • Scope for recognition of wider ethical sourcing and trade justice efforts beyond Fairtrade certified products.
  • The introduction of an on-site audit, undertaken by trained student auditors through NUS’s highly successful existing student auditor programme.

  • Enhanced support from NUS and Fairtrade. New resources, tools and support to ensure universities and colleges can make the most of their participation and achieve their goals.
  • More scope for measuring impact: Through NUS’s programme of student surveys and database of over 700k students, improved monitoring will show the impact the award scheme is having on attitudes, understanding and ethical consumption and sourcing practice in the HE and FE sector.
  • The introduction of award scheme participation fees to ensure that Fairtrade and NUS can sustainably offer an enhanced award scheme that meets the needs of the sector and provides good value for money.

The Fairtrade University and College Award Programme Outline

  • Building a network of partnerships is also central to the awards and enables collaborative approaches to larger national and international responsible trade and consumption campaigns.

In order to get the standard award, there are 11 mandatory criteria to achieve, which mirror the five goals of the previous award. The rest are all optional criteria that institutions can take any number of to achieve additional ‘stars’ for the award, ranging from 1 to 3 dependent on level of attainment.

The award criteria include actions that may include staff from the procurement, catering, student union, teaching staff and also students, and a partnership approach is encouraged.

Award cycle

The new FTUC Awards programme is open for registration now and will work across a two year cycle.

Institution and union partnerships will register and work for an award using our bespoke online toolkit, structured to enable the partnership to upload evidence for each criterion, track progress and engage a working group in their work.

Partnerships will have two years to complete as much or as little from the toolkit as they decide, with support and/or resources from NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation throughout.

In March-May 2020, NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation will support the recruitment and lead the training of on-site student auditors who will verify the organisation’s toolkit submission.

Accreditations will then be awarded and remain valid for two years, until the next audit date.

The participation fee

To be able to offer this enhanced award scheme, we have introduced a participation fee for universities and colleges from 2018, and will no longer be accepting applications under the previous award scheme.

Register your interest

If you are interested in your institution taking part in the new award, find out more information.

For queries please contact university@fairtrade.org.uk