Bradford University students in banana suits

12 Universities have achieved Fairtrade status in nationwide Fairtrade University and College Award

Higher education institutions in England and Scotland were notified this week that they have achieved Fairtrade University status.

Fairtrade is pleased to announce that the Arts University Bournemouth, Kings College London, London Metropolitan University, Middlesex University, Oxford Brookes University, Strathclyde University, University College London, the University of Derby, the University of Huddersfield, Oxford University, the University of St Andrews, and the University of Exeter have all achieved Fairtrade University status for the academic year 2020, following a student-led audit. This is an incredible rigorous award to achieve in such a difficult and uncertain time, and Fairtrade commends every successful applicant for all their hard work. 

Now in its third year, this time in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation, the National Union of Students, and Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), the Fairtrade University and College Award requires students to engage significantly in social outreach, and to work collaboratively with one and other, and their institution, to achieve the award. 

The universities were delighted to be awarded after achieving Fairtrade status to mark the past 18 months of work. Representatives from the universities and their respective students’ unions have been working through criteria which are more far reaching than the previous award, and provide a wider range of ways for the institution to engage with Fairtrade and ethical consumption.

The award structure encourages partnership between sustainability, catering and academic staff in the institution plus the students’ union and students to cover procurement, awareness raising and campaigning activities. There are also opportunities to engage through teaching and the flexibility to receive points for trying out new and innovative ways to engage.

In order to confirm the achievements of the universities, students were recruited as volunteer auditors and given training, equipping them with transferrable skills and experience in conducting an audit.

There are several tiers of accreditation, ranging from basic Fairtrade University or College status, through one, two and three star awards. Accreditations are awarded annually and remain valid for two years. The awards were as follows:

 Arts University Bournemouth 
Fairtrade University ***
 Kings College London
Fairtrade University *
 London Metropolitan University    
Fairtrade University *
 Middlesex University
Fairtrade University ***
 Oxford Brookes University
Fairtrade University 
 Strathclyde University
Fairtrade University 
 University College London
Fairtrade University *
 University of Derby
Fairtrade University 
 University of Huddersfield
Fairtrade University *
 University of Oxford
Fairtrade University *
 University of St Andrews
Fairtrade University **
 University of Exeter
Fairtrade University *

Higher education institutions have huge environmental and social impact on the world and not only in the way they choose to reduce their own carbon emissions. The students these institutions educate will go on to graduate and become the teachers, scientists, and politicians, who decide our planet’s future. 

By encouraging students to explore their understanding of the social and environmental impacts of their decisions, and making ethical and sustainable the norm, institutions can have a hugely positive influence on the graduates who will become the next generation of leaders. 

Joanna Milis, Education Campaigns Manager from the Fairtrade Foundation, said: ‘This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone, not just for the Fairtrade farmers and producers on the ground, but for students here in the UK who have had their studies disrupted. It’s wonderful to see that even in the face of adversity, students remain committed to the Fairtrade movement. Research conducted by our partners NUS 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. It is so important to enable students to have access to information about this at a time when farmers and producers need our support more than ever. Working in partnership with NUS and SOS-UK has allowed us to develop a robust but achievable set of standards for the award.’

If you would like to encourage your institution to lead worldwide change, you can sign up to our 2020-22 cohort today.


Notes to Editors:

Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK) is a new educational charity create by students and staff at NUS in response to the climate emergency and ecological crisis. They actively support students to be the change that society urgently needs, helping them learn, act and lead on sustainability.

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