We have participated in the Fairtrade University scheme since 2004, making commitments to fair trade procurement, awareness-raising and research. The University is now working towards its next award.
The University continues to maintain its longstanding commitment to fair trade and develop its approach to ethical supply chains.
Students: get involved with Fairtrade Fortnight
What the University is doing
The University is committed to continued promotion and understanding of fair trade.
Supporting the International Fair Trade Charter
We recognise and support the International Fair Trade Charter launched in September 2018 by the World Fair Trade Organisation and Fairtrade International. Supporters of the charter share a vision of a world in which everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full human potential.
Our Fair Trade policy
Our commitment to fair trade means that whenever possible we aim to buy products that are produced fairly and ethically and support on-going academic research and development in this area.
Fairtrade University and College Award
The University took part in a 2017/18 pilot of a new Fairtrade University and Colleges Award, led by the Fairtrade Foundation and SOS UK. We received a "two-star Fairtrade University Award" in recognition of our continued promotion of fair trade products and principles. This award was valid through May 2020. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, we applied for an extension, which is valid to February 2022. We are now preparing to submit for reaccreditation.
Here are some of the things we are doing to promote fair trade:
- University and Students' Association catering outlets and shops continue to expand their range of fair trade options, including many Fairtrade labelled products, as well as others such as Malawian rice from Just Trading Scotland
- We raise awareness of fair trade issues during Fairtrade Fortnight each year
- We are members of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and Edinburgh Fair Trade City Group
- University staff, Students Association colleagues and elected student representatives are meeting regularly to collaborate on our Fairtrade University and College Award submission and identify new improvements
- Undertake research with staff and students to understand how to improve fairtrade and ethical purchasing at the University
Further details of these actions can be found in the 2020-21 Fairtrade Award update.
Specific details of actions taken by the Fair Trade Working Group as part of the Fairtrade University and College Award can be found in our progress report. This document is regularly updated in the lead up to our submission.
In 2021, the Department of Social Responsibiltiy and Sustainability conducted a survey with Staff and Students to explore how to improve Fairtrade and Ethical purchasing that the University. Recommendations from this survey included:
- Improve knowledge of Fairtrade, with a focus on the range of issues that Fairtrade looks to address (including environmental and social elements)
- Increase awareness of the locations that Fairtrade items are stocked at the University, and which items are Fairtrade within these locations
- Increase awareness of range of Fairtrade items available, even when not stocked at the University (e.g. flowers, gold and jewellery)
- Encourage inclusion of Fairtrade items in new locations such as vending machines on campus, noting that these may be managed by external companies and so the University may have limited influence in the short term (potentially this will be possible during the procurement of these services)
- Evaluate wider range of accreditations and compare to Fairtrade, to establish whether the University should include additional sustainability accreditations within purchasing as standard, in particular for items where Fairtrade accreditation is not applicable.
The full report from this survey is available below.
Find out more about the University's fair trade products and initiatives below