Becoming a Fairtrade university or college

Everything you need to know about how to become a Fairtrade university or college.

Changes to the Fairtrade University and College Award

We are very excited to be working on a pilot programme with NUS to redesign the Fairtrade University and College Award. We want to make the new award even more impactful, inspiring universities to take a broader approach to ethical procurement, and adding in a student auditor element.

To this end we are working closely with 12 universities and colleges to develop the new standard over the 2017/18 academic year with a view to launching the new award in June 2018. As such, the existing award will no longer be available after 31st May 2018.

What does this mean?

If you receive your award before 31st May 2018 then it is valid until the expiry date on your certificate. When you come to renew you will need to apply through the new system. Please note that there will be a charge for the new award to cover costs associated with the programme. As this is a pilot year we will keep you updated on the changes under the ‘Latest News’ tab on the left so do check back for updates.

We are really keen to hear your views on this so please email Jo Milis ( if you have any feedback.

How to apply for status

Fill in the application form and email it to us at This will help us to process your application more efficiently and allow you to celebrate Fairtrade status sooner.

Please note that if your attachments are very large we may not receive your email. We will always send a confirmation email to say that we have received your application. If you do not receive this please contact us.

If you need to send a hard copy or have supporting information (like press cuttings) you can post them to Fairtrade Universities and Colleges, The Fairtrade Foundation, 3rd Floor, Ibex House, 42-47 Minories, London, EC3N 1DY.

If you have any problems or queries about applying, please email

How to become a Fairtrade University or College

All the communities who want to be recognised by Fairtrade have to meet our five goals – and it means everyone at your College or University pulling together for your Fairtrade campaign.

  • Goal 1 - Passing a Fairtrade policy statement. The Student Union (or equivalent) and the University/ College authorities should both pass a Fairtrade policy incorporating the five goals. This policy should be reviewed annually, to see how it can be improved and developed.
  • Goal 2 - Getting Fairtrade products on campus. Fairtrade products including food and cotton should be made available for sale in all campus shops. Fairtrade foods are used in all cafés/restaurants/bars on campus. The availability and use of Fairtrade products should increase throughout the university/college year on year.The university/college and Student Union commits to sourcing Fairtrade cotton products in their purchasing (for example in staff uniforms, specialist clothing for courses and merchandise).
  • Goal 3 – Using Fairtrade Products at meetings. Fairtrade products should be served at all meetings/events hosted by the university/college and the Student Union (or equivalent), including internal management meetings. Tea, coffee and sugar should be served as standard with other Fairtrade products introduced where possible (e.g. biscuits, juice and fruit).
  • Goal 4 – Organising Fairtrade Campaigns. Campaigns should be run on campus to increase the understanding of Fairtrade and consumption of Fairtrade products. This should include student events, campaigns and raising awareness of trade justice as well as integrating Fairtrade into subject teaching where appropriate.
  • Goal 5 – Set up a Fairtrade Steering Group. A Fairtrade Steering Group should be established, with representatives from the student body, university/college staff and catering or procurement department (where this is part of a wider ethical procurement committee there should be a Fairtrade working group who either meet termly or who cover Fairtrade comprehensively in the wider meeting). Student representation in the steering group is essential.

Check out our top tips for help on fulfilling these goals.

Renewing your status as a Fairtrade university or college

Becoming a Fairtrade University or College is a great achievement but it is only the beginning! You need to continue to increase awareness and availability of Fairtrade products across your campus and ensure that new students and staff are aware of your Fairtrade status.

Once your institution is granted status, you will need to send in a renewal in 12 months. After this first renewal you will only need to renew once every two years. In the meantime, make sure your Steering Group meets regularly and keep a record of events, activities and successes. Download the renewal form here.

Please see above for changes to the Fairtrade Universities & Colleges Award.