What is Fairtrade?
From the Fairtrade Foundation website, ‘Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers’ (2015).
Fairtrade is exactly that – ‘Fair Trade’ – and a globally-recognised movement developed by the Fairtrade Foundation. The International Fairtrade System includes campaigners, businesses, and consumers who empower producers and support the work of farmers and communities in some of the world’s poorest regions.
In the UK, a Fairtrade product is distinguished by the licensed Fairtrade Mark, which recognises that the product has met Fairtrade Standards throughout its journey from production to sale. This gives organisations and institutions an opportunity to commit to using Fairtrade products only, which is why Glasgow Caledonian University is recognised as a ‘Fairtrade University’.
What does being a ‘Fairtrade University’ actually mean for me?
GCU was granted full Fairtrade status in 2012, and established itself as the first University to achieve this status in the United Kingdom. By being a Fairtrade University, Glasgow Caledonian University commits to supporting the Fairtrade movement by promoting and using products with the Fairtrade Mark. This means that, for example, the coffee you buy in the morning before your first lecture, the bananas you buy before, and the chocolate you buy after a workout in the Arc, are all recognised Fairtrade products. By purchasing these items on campus, you’re helping to support the lives of workers and the development of communities living in poverty-stricken areas.
We are in the process of helping the university maintain its Fairtrade status and work collaboratively to ensure we are meeting all the goals necessary to continue to be a Fairtrade University. In 2018, we partnered with the University on a Fairtrade Policy committing ourselves and the university to the source Fairtrade when possible and the creation of a Fairtrade steering group.