Fairtrade University case studies

Check out these Fairtrade University case studies to inspire your work on Fairtrade at your institution.

If you would like to submit a case study for our website, please complete this application form (pdf) and send it to university@fairtrade.org.uk.

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Case study: Middlesex University London

In June 2020, Middlesex University London achieved a three star Fairtrade University and College Award – the highest level of Fairtrade Award. The partnership has consistently come up with great innovations to keep their Fairtrade campaign fresh and engaging.

We spoke to Middlesex University about their experiences of the award and the importance of networking.

The opportunity

Back in 2017, Middlesex University saw an opportunity to strengthen ties to Fairtrade at their institution, educate the next generation about conscious consumption and make it fun. The University signed up to the Pilot year of the Fairtrade Award, which ran between 2017 and 2018. Middlesex continued to build on their achievements and took part in the 2018-2020 Fairtrade University Award programme, achieving a three star Award in June 2020.

The impact

Jo Williamson, the Contracts Officer at Middlesex University, explained, ‘As a result of taking part in the Fairtrade University and College Award, our Fairtrade products have increased across campus and there has been an increase in the number of students interested in Fairtrade. We’ve got a lot more staff campaigning for Fairtrade and embedding these into modules. We’ve also increased our wider Fairtrade community network.

‘We are really proud of how much we’ve grown and how many opportunities have opened up for us since we started. So many people are now part of our Fairtrade journey at Middlesex – it feels like a Fairtrade Community. It’s very inspiring to have all these people as equally passionate about the cause and proud to be a part of it with us.’

Top tip for new applicants

You’re not on your own. If you don’t know where to start or how to tackle certain things, we have a network of institutions that can help and support you.

Middlesex University

Networking with other institutions that are signed up to the award is a fantastic way to inspire and inform your work on Fairtrade. This coming academic year will be unlike no other, so it is a good idea to work with other institutions to come up with innovative ideas that are achievable, even in lock down!

Email Jo Williamson at J.E.Williamson@mdx.ac.uk to join the Fairtrade University Networking Group.

As well as networking with other institutions, why not work in partnership with your local community? Middlesex University has commented that the ‘power local campaigners have is priceless [and that they] would recommend all institutions form a partnership where possible with local campaigners.’

Check out the Fairtrade Communities and Fairtrade Schools in your area.

Arts University Bournemouth

Arts University Bournemouth is one of two institutions to achieve a three star Fairtrade University and College Award this year.

We spoke to Arts University Bournemouth about their experience and the events they ran through taking part in the Fairtrade University and College Award programme.

Staying Ethical lecture at Arts University Bournemouth

The opportunity

To align with their sustainability aspirations, Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) welcomed the chance to highlight their ethical practices and their commitment to Fairtrade. The AUB team commented that, ‘the Fairtrade Award provided this opportunity and complemented our continuous improvement ethos.’ As part of their award, AUB Human was delighted to bring together industry professionals for an afternoon of inspirational talks in support of Global Ethics Day on October 16th 2019. The Ethics and Creative Practice symposium, explored the role of ethics in an interconnected world and confronted the issues that face creatives both personally and professionally.

Global Ethics Day lecture - Arts University Bournemouth

The impact

Through AUB Students’ Union events, AUB students and the rest of the community always support Fairtrade activities and products but the award implementation really ‘focused minds’ and provided that extra drive. It highlighted new ways to promote ideas and events but equally provided a platform for creative, innovative thinking on all ethical considerations. It helped communicate the Fairtrade message around the campus, encouraged participation, and was celebrated throughout the AUB community. It is what you make it!

Top tip for new applicants

The Fairtrade University and College Award is a really worthwhile exercise to undertake. It is not a burden but a chance to celebrate your achievements. The new award acknowledges other ethical considerations, as it should, and encourages continuous improvement.

James Jackson – Arts University Bournemouth

London Metropolitan University

London Metropolitan University was awarded a one star Fairtrade University and College Award this year. Zanda Pipira, Sustainability Officer at London Metropolitan University, shares the impact that the Fairtrade University Award has had on the institution and provides excellent advice for new applicants.

London Met University - stall for Fairtrade Fortnight

The opportunity

London Metropolitan saw the Fairtrade University Award programme as an opportunity to support its key values, in particular, promoting global citizenship, promoting social justice and supporting wider communities. Staff and students saw the Fairtrade Award programme as a great way to establish a meaningful partnership between sustainability, the catering team, procurement team, Students’ Union and academic staff in the University. Zanda Pipira commented that ‘[the award] is well structured and encourages all stakeholders to work together to achieve the goals.’

The impact

London Metropolitan University have notably improved the range of Fairtrade products in their catering outlets and Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar is now served as standard at all University meetings and events. Significant change has been made in how the Students’ Union purchase their merchandise and uniforms, making sure items sourced are Fairtrade where possible.

In addition to the way the University purchases food, drink and goods on campus, the partnership has run more campaigns than ever before to increase the understanding of Fairtrade and consumption of Fairtrade products. This includes student and catering events as well as Students’ Union campaigns, e.g. Fairtrade chocolate tasting, Fairtrade Valentine’s Day, and bake offs. The University have seen an increased level of student and staff engagement during events – they are interested to learn more about Fairtrade and what they can do to help. The Fairtrade Award programme has also provided London Metropolitan University with the chance to establish a relationship with their local Fairtrade group.

During the Fairtrade Award programme cycle we are proud of all the collaborative work with our stakeholders and all their efforts to help us to achieve our Fairtrade University one star status! It takes so many people to achieve this award and we are very thankful for all their hard work and commitment!

Zanda Papira, London Metropolitan University

Top tips for new applicants

London Metropolitan explained that the structure of the award highlighted the need to support their staff and students on their journey to ethical consumption. ‘We need to constantly review and improve our supply chains as well as the decisions we make. The Fairtrade Award really supports you to address these issues.’

If you have a chance to take part, we encourage you to do so! We are also offering our support to other Universities if you like us to tell you more about our experience and the work we have done.

Not only that, but the programme allows student engagement through the events, campaigns and training opportunities. In order to confirm the achievements of the University, two students were recruited this year as volunteer auditors, and trained by NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation, equipping them with transferable skills and experience in conducting an audit.