Monday saw the start of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight – a festival originating with the Fairtrade Foundation. University of St Andrews has been fairtrade-certified since 2007 and as such partakes in the celebrations at the end of February and beginning of March every year.
The 2018 Fairtrade Fortnight runs from 26th February until 11th March and University of St Andrews’ Environment Team, along with a few student societies and Transition, have an extensive programme of events open to both staff and students, as well as to the public.
All sounds good, but what does Fairtrade actually mean?
Fairtrade sets social, economic and environmental standards for both the companies who sell and for the farmers and workers who grow the food we all enjoy. For farmers and workers the standards target the protection of workers’ rights and the environment, while for companies they consist in the payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to be invested in business or community projects of the community’s choice.
Fairtrade, as a certification body, conducts independent audits, ensuring those standards are met along a product’s supply chain. When all of the ingredients that can be Fairtrade in a given product are confirmed to comply with standards (e.g. sugar and cacao powder in chocolate chip cookies), the product is issued the FAIRTRADE Mark – a logo widely recognised by consumers, which signals the product’s sustainability credentials.
If you would like to explore Fairtrade in detail, head over to Fairtrade Foundation’s website where you can find more information about the organisation and the label.
Okay, I sort of get it now…but what is a Fairtrade University?
‘A Fairtrade University or College is one that has made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade.’ Throughout the UK there are more than 170 Fairtrade Universities and Colleges. As a Fairtrade University we recognise the impact we have on producers and communities throughout the world, and therefore are committed to increasing the use and sale of Fairtrade products across our campus. The University’s Fairtrade Steering Group is also committed to engaging with staff and students to increase the awareness of the benefits fairtrade brings to farmers and the environment – and this is where Fairtrade Fortnight comes in.
What events can I attend this year?
A few of the events we have lined up for the first week of Fairtrade Fortnight include:
- A Fairtrade Tea and Coffee afternoon – Wednesday (28th February), 4:30 – 6pm, Byre Theatre. This is a LiftShare Meet & Greet event – promoting the University’s car sharing scheme – and if you are in need of some caffeine and would like to learn more about LiftShare, stop by and don’t worry about staying for the whole event as it is a drop-in session!
- Another exciting event happening in the Byre is the screening of the documentary ‘The Chocolate Case’ – A group of journalists become aware of child slavery in the cocoa industry and, since slavery is a crime, they idea is to get convicted for eating chocolate. When the big companies refuse to cooperate by producing a slave-free chocolate bar, the team decides to do accept the challenge and make their own. If you are curious to see how well they managed and would like to try the slave-free chocolate bar, head over to the Byre Theatre on Friday (2nd March) at 6pm. This is a FREE ticketed event and you can get your ticket either at the door, or pre-book online at https://byretheatre.com/events/the-chocolate-case/.
- Thirdly, we have a Fairtrade Vegan Bake-off taking place in the Mansfield building on Sunday (4th March). You can enter the competition or simply attend and enjoy the finished result. We still have a few spaces left for competition entries and VegSoc are offering a prize for the winner (for more information, contact VegSoc directly). Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.
We have many more events planned for you, most of which FREE and involving fairtrade goodies GIVEAWAYs, so please check out the event programme below!