Great news! We have recently been awarded a 2-star Fairtrade University and College status award, delivered by SOS (Students Organising for Sustainability) and the Fairtrade Foundation. This accreditation is an excellent achievement for us, as this shows the University’s commitment towards: reducing the impact of our consumption, sustainable practices, and ethical support towards fairtrade communities and livelihoods. We are passionate about continuing to involve Fairtrade practices into our policy making, procurement, campaigns, university studies and of course into our food outlets.
As a University, we were originally awarded Fairtrade University Status in 2020, from which our recent accreditation means we are now officially renewed as a University that is actively incorporating Fairtrade in our products and practices. We had been working hard to regain our status, and the work has evidently paid off.
The Fairtrade Foundation and SOS conducted an audit on our practices earlier this year to assess whether we would be able to obtain the certification, and then we were scored on different action categories – there were 11 mandatory criteria to achieve. The remaining are optional criteria that institutions can adopt to achieve additional ‘stars’ for the award, that range from 1 to 3 stars dependent on The University’s level of attainment. The overall result was two- star status scoring. As a result, some of our most highly scored categories where:
- Delivering innovative Fairtrade campaigns and student partnerships to deliver awareness on Fairtrade, trade justice or ethical consumption. During Fairtrade fortnight we publicised the importance of Fairtrade, and advertised a coffee promotion throughout our catering outlets. Click this link to read our blog from Fairtrade fortnight, that indicates what Fairtrade means and why it is important: Fairtrade Fortnight: why fairtrade is important and what you can do – Sustainability (reading.ac.uk)
- Having a range of Fairtrade products available across our on-campus catering outlets such as: tea, coffee, sugar, bananas, cocoa products, other fruits and food items. More information on what kinds of products can be Fairtrade, is found here on the Fairtrade website
- Integrating Fairtrade awareness and education into university life. We champion encouraging students to learn about Fairtrade, in which we hope will change the consumer habits of staff and students.
If you want to read more about why we took part in the award programme, and what the accreditation means, follow this link: Universities and Colleges – Fairtrade Foundation
Our Fairtrade policy, certificates and updates on the work we complete towards the cause is made available for the public to view on our website here: Fairtrade – Sustainability (reading.ac.uk)
Julia Cope, Sustainability Services