Why you should buy Fairtrade flowers:

When you say Fairtrade most people will automatically think; chocolate, bananas and maybe even wine! But did you know that you can also buy Fairtrade roses amongst many other items including ice cream, quinoa vodka and coconut oil?

Fairtrade roses made into a bouquet for a University staff member

Across the world the flower trade is a large, and rapidly expanding industry, with global trade estimated to be worth more than $100 billion every year! With the industry expanding with every year, it is becoming important to understand how the whole industry is run, who is involved and what goes on before the flowers land on our doorsteps.

The flower industry is incredibly important to developing countries and counties who rely on this trade  as one of their main sources of income. For example, Kenya’s flower industry provides income for up to 2 million people and generates more than $500 million a year. This industry predominantly employs female workers, often from poor and uneducated backgrounds. Although with the help from Fairtade and other companies, working and living conditions for workers and their communities have improved across the world, however there is still plenty that can be done.

Fairtrade seeks to protect and benefit workers on farms across the world. By purchasing flowers with the Fairtrade logo you can be sure your money is going to those who need it the most, through the protection of worker’s rights including economic, environmental and social factors. To date there are 50,000 flower workers working under Fairtrade! Fairtrade currently works with 55 Fairtade flower producer companies across 8 countries. Sales of Fairtrade products generate a Fairtrade Premium, which is spent on improving education and housing systems, provision of safe water supplies and sanitation systems, renovation of buildings, and empowering and supporting people in their own businesses and communities to create sustainable economies. 

Last week saw Valentine’s Day and the University of St Andrews Fairtrade Steering Group thought it would be a good opportunity to spread the love for Fairtrade! With orders placed, we sourced some Fairtrade roses to be brought in and gave the bouquets to our staff members to give to their loved ones. 10 days later and you can see that the flowers are still as beautiful as the day they were bought.

10 day old Fairtrade roses

Many farmers who work hard to grow and make the things we eat and use on a daily basis but do not get treated or paid fairly. We want to put an end to this. Choose Fairtrade!

Join us for an exciting few weeks of Fairtrade Fortnight filled with different events. For more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1265702060185233/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where can you buy Fairtrade roses in St Andrews?

Marks and Spencers:

St Andrews Simply Food, 23 Largo Road, St Andrews KY16 8NH

M and S sell a wide range of Fairtrade flowers. Why not drop by on your way home from work, or make it a nice addition to a dine in for two deal!

Sainsbury’s:

71 Market Street, St Andrews KY16 9NU

Ravine Roses

Sainsbury’s has supported Fairtrade Premium and a microfinance initiative to provide the local area with interest free loans for schools fees. Furthermore, Fairtrade Premium has funded the construction of a numerous amount of facilities across the local area, ensuring that workers have access to clean and safe water.

Primarosa Flowers

The Fairtrade Premium supports local projects to help education and healthcare systems develop. A number of projects have been set up in the local area including the vaccination of all workers against typhoid.

Co – operative:

Tom Stewart Lane, St Andrews KY16 8

All single stem roses are provided from Fairtrade farms in Kenya.

And remember it doesn’t just have to be Valentine’s Day when you buy flowers…..

A visit to the Eden Campus to see our Biomass District Heating

The Eden Campus Biomass District Heating Scheme located at Guardbridge is the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom. In late November the Biomass Energy Centre was awarded the Sustainable Development Award at the Scottish Green Energy Award, a trophy that now sits proudly at reception in College Gate. A week later our Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone, officially lit the district heating boiler and the Energy Centre was commissioned.

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Environmental Facilitators checking out the wood chips at the Energy Centre

From the beginning of this month the Biomass Energy Centre has been heating all of the buildings on the North Haugh and the halls of residence on that side of town, consuming 40 tonnes of wood per day. All of the buildings still have their gas boilers as a back-up; so there is no need to worry that an issue in one building could take the whole system down. This investment is a demonstration of the University’s commitment to sustainability and reduces our annual carbon footprint by 6,000 tonnes.

On the 26th of January, twenty-six Environmental Facilitators from the University of St Andrews were taken on a tour of the University’s Biomass Energy Centre located at the new Eden Campus in Guardbridge. David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager for the University of St Andrews, and David Raley from Vital Energi, led the tour, giving the Environmental Facilitators a fantastic insight into the inputs, processes and relevant outputs of this district heating scheme.

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Inside the main room – just look at all those pipes!

The Environmental Facilitator training programme aims to drive positive change within the workplace through the training and supporting staff to promote sustainable behaviours and find innovative ways to engage colleagues. The Environmental Facilitator training programme is open to all staff members and helps us reach our sustainability targets, including zero waste to landfill by 2020.

The University has invested in the highest quality products. Scandinavian series-3 insulation of the 23kms of piping means that water from the Eden Campus arrives in St Andrews only 1.5C lower than it left. A new innovation embedded with the pipes allows leaks to be detected and located to within a meter. The system can also cope with a wide range of humidity in the wood so that we can be flexible with our suppliers. Right now all of the wood is from forestry in Scotland and the University is looking to make this even more local going forward. This is part of the ‘Guardbridge Guarantee’, a commitment to the local economy, which is an ethos that pervades this entire development. In fact, despite importing the best Danish and Swedish manufactured technology, 73 percent of investment in construction stayed in Scotland.

Locally sourced wood chips ready to be used to generate heat for our buildings!

Locally sourced wood chips ready to be used to generate heat for our buildings!

The site has been designed to be able to accommodate tours, so if you want to know what 1,000C looks like or hear about how our biomass boiler operates get in touch with the Environment Team (environment@st-andrews.ac.uk) and we’ll organise a visit!

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David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager for the University of St Andrews, taking some of the Environmental Facilitators around the main room

 

Where are they now? Part 2

Every year the Environment Team gains a new Sustainability Intern whose position last for a year. This internship provides the incredible opportunity to work for the University of St Andrews Estates Environment Team, helping to support, develop and implement the sustainability agenda across the campus. Over a series of blogs we have invited some of our interns to answer a few questions about their time as Sustainability Intern and what they have being doing since finishing the position. Meet Sarah Duley who was with the Environment Team from 2012 -2013

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What was your favourite part of your role as Sustainability Officer?

I loved my time at St Andrews as an undergraduate studying Sustainable Development, so I was really excited to stay on for another as Sustainability Officer in the Estates team. It turned out to be, as expected, another fantastic year in St Andrews and a great way to begin a career in sustainability.

I think one of the highlights of working in the Environment Team that has to be the location – to walk to work along East Sands or pop out for a lunchtime stroll along the coast, or even the occasional post-work dip in the sea was a delight (especially now working in the centre of Edinburgh where open space is harder to find at lunchtime!). In terms of the role though, my highlight would probably be the work I undertook around sustainable food.

Was there a particular highlight of your year within the Environment Team?

I worked with the University’s catering team to develop a Sustainable Food Policy for the University amongst other food related projects from food waste in halls alongside Transition or chairing the Fairtrade Steering Group. This part of the work was not only incredibly interesting but it has led me to where I am today.

Do you think you were particularly sustainable before the role? How did your attitudes to the environment and your own behaviours change over the year?

I believe I was already relatively ‘environmentally friendly’ before beginning the role but I definitely didn’t have such an awareness and understanding of how food impacts on all areas of environmental, social and economic sustainability or how a powerful a tool it can be for change. Whilst working in the Environment Team I began to realise the power of food as a way of engaging people in sustainability and as a solution to many other sustainability challenges. Food is universally necessary, interesting and emotive. It means something to everyone and the way we eat – from farm to fork – impacts on the world around us immeasurably.

Tell us what you have been up to since finishing your position as Sustainability Intern!

I have been working at the Soil Association in Scotland for the last couple of years on a programme called Food for Life Scotland, which is funded by the Scottish Government, and aims to make good food the easy choice for everyone in Scotland. Good food holds the key to healthier people, a thriving economy and a greener environment – something I learnt during my time in St Andrews. My role involves working directly with caterers across the public and private sector in Scotland to help them to develop more sustainable menus and supply chains. We use the Food for Life Served Here (formerly Catering Mark) award certification to support this and currently over 20 million Food for Life meals are served across Scotland annually, across schools, universities, care homes, workplaces and visitor attractions. I get to travel across Scotland and meet some of the fantastic people working in our public kitchens – and it is great to have been able to build on my experiences as a Sustainability Officer!

It’s been wonderful to follow the work of the Environment Team, and Transition, since I moved to Edinburgh and I’ve been very excited to see the Guardbridge project move to fruition. All the best to everyone!