We have participated in the Fairtrade University scheme since 2004, making commitments to procure fair trade, awareness-raising and research.
The University continues to maintain its longstanding commitment to fair trade and develop its approach to ethical supply chains.
Our commitment to fair trade means that whenever possible we aim to buy products that are produced fairly and ethically and support ongoing academic research and development in this area.
There are lots of ways for staff and students to support workers around the world by choosing accredited products when they buy, as well as awareness-raising, volunteering and contributing to research.
What can I do?
Buy fairly traded goods to ensure farmers are paid fairer prices that reflect the cost of production and enable a decent standard of living.
Fair trade models also emphasise decent working conditions and the use of environmentally-friendly growing practices. Well known approaches include Fairtrade certification and the World Fair Trade Organisation verification system.
Edinburgh is a Fairtrade University. Look out for Fairtrade beverages, bananas, chocolate and other products at University and Students’ Association outlets. Find out about fair trade products available at the University, the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign and more about what we're doing.
You can find a list of products available further down this page.
Get involved with the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and Edinburgh Fair Trade City Group. They are often looking for volunteers.
Undertake research with staff and students to understand how to improve fairtrade and ethical purchasing at the University through a living lab project, where you use your research, dissertation or coursework to work on challenges within the University.
Attend an event
Each year, we share events happening around Edinburgh as well as hosting our own.
Pledge to buy fair trade
Fairtrade Fortnight is a great time to get into the habit of thinking about where the things you buy come from. Buying items that have the Fairtrade logo ensures a fairer price for workers.
Run your own activity or event
Whether you’re interested in fair trade food, clothing, policy or debate, be part of Fairtrade Fortnight and organise your own event!
Stuck on an idea? How about organising a bake sale and showcasing the best of Fairtrade baking products, organising a community Fairtrade breakfast, or why not organise a lecture or debate on an area of fair trade that’s important to you?
Get in touch, and we will include the details in our Fairtrade Fortnight calendar, and promote it to the wider University and networks.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2023
Fair trade products at the University
Tony's Chocolonely is a brand of chocolate who are working to make 100% slave-free the norm.
The company was founded by Teun van de Keuken, a Dutch journalist who launched a campaign against child slavery in the chocolate industry.
The chocolate bars are available in University cafés, introduced for Fairtrade Fortnight 2020.
As part of our programme of events as part of Fairtrade Fortnight, there will be a free chocolate tasting in a University café, and we are holding a screening of The Chocolate Case, followed by a Q&A with a representative from Tony's Chocolonely.
Why are the bars unequally divided?
To us it doesn't make sense for chocolate bars to be divided into chunks of equal sizes when there is so much inequality in the chocolate industry! The unevenly sized chunks of our 6oz bars are a palatable way of reminding our choco friends that the profits in the chocolate industry are unfairly divided.
All bananas at the University are Fairtrade from Panama.
An estimated 272,874 bananas were bought by Accommodation, Catering and Events in 2018/19. Fairtrade apple juice is also served in our halls of residence and cafés. This means farmers get a higher and more stable price for their produce, and a Fairtrade premium for farming cooperatives to use for projects that benefit their communities.
In the conventional banana trade, supermarkets have been found to be ever lowering the price paid to producers, while increasing their own share of the profits. For more info see article: 'Report by Fair Trade Advocacy Office and Banana Link highlights Unfair Trading Practices in banana sector'.
In 2018/19, we served almost 2.9 million cups of Fairtrade coffee, 613,384 cups of Fairtrade hot chocolate and 671,361 cups of Fairtrade tea.
All tea, coffee and hot chocolate served in University outlets is Fairtrade, as is the sugar. This means farmers get a higher and more stable price for their produce, and a Fairtrade premium for farming cooperatives to use for projects that benefit their communities.
In 2018/19, we served almost 2.9 million cups of Fairtrade coffee, 613,384 cups of Fairtrade hot chocolate and 671,361 cups of Fairtrade tea. 577,000 sticks of white and brown Fairtrade sugar were also used, as well as 3,473kg of Fairtrade sugar in cooking. Figures from Accommodation, Catering and Events.
All rice served at the University is sourced from smallholder farmers in Malawi through Just Trading Scotland, a Scottish fair trade distributor.
All rice served at the University is sourced from smallholder farmers in Malawi through Just Trading Scotland, a Scottish fair trade distributor. Every 90kg of rice bought pays for a year’s basic secondary education for one farmer's child.
In 2015 two MSc students undertook fieldwork research in Malawi on the fair trade lentil value chain and livelihoods benefits. They found that participating farmers had higher incomes, access to training opportunities and improved gender equality. Read their blog post on the experience to learn more.
What is the University doing?
The University became a founding member of Electronics Watch in 2014, an EU-wide initiative which supports public buyers in calling for fair working conditions in electronics manufacturing.
The University of Edinburgh was also the first in the UK is adopt a policy on conflict minerals, committing to putting continued pressure on suppliers to ensure they are not supporting armed conflict through their use of minerals in electronics products like computers and mobile phones.
The University collaborated with Electronics Watch and nine other partners across Europe on an EU-funded three-year project entitled Make ICT Fair. We carried out research on working conditions and social responsibility in ICT supply chains, to be disseminated to policy makers, procurement professionals and the general public across Europe.
- We support the International Fair Trade Charter
- We're taking part in the Fairtrade University and Colleges Award
- Our commitment to fair trade means that whenever possible we aim to buy products that are produced fairly and ethically and support ongoing academic research and development in this area.