What makes St Andrews a Fairtrade University?


The University of St Andrews was recently re-awarded Fairtrade University status by the Fairtrade Foundation…but what does that mean?

Fairtrade University status is awarded to universities in the UK which have made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade. In order to be awarded this status, universities must satisfy the five goals of the Fairtrade Foundation:


1. Passing a Fairtrade policy statement

Not only does the university have its own Fairtrade policy, but the Students’ Association has one too! Both are publicly available on the university’s website, and are reviewed regularly. By supporting Fairtrade we are doing our bit to help support farmers, producers, and their communities by guaranteeing better prices, working conditions, and terms of trade to allow them to develop their farms whilst also protecting the environment in which they live and work.


2. Get Fairtrade products on campus

The university’s cafes stock a wide range of Fairtrade food and drink including coffee, tea, sugar, fruit juice, chocolate bars, cookies, and flapjacks. The Students’ Association shop also sells a wide variety of Fairtrade clothing including hoodies, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jogging bottoms of various designs.

In catered halls of residence, fairly traded rice and lentils are served. The university is participating in Just Trading Scotland’s Rice Challenge, and has so far raised enough money to send fourteen Malawian children to school for a year.


3. Use Fairtrade products at meetings

Fairtrade coffee, tea, sugar, and hot chocolate are the only options offered at meetings and events hosted by the university. Not only that, but the range of products has recently been expanded to include decaf coffee and flavoured teas! These Fairtrade products are also served at weddings catered by the university, and all graduation garden parties and dinners.


4. Organise Fairtrade campaigns

Every year the Fairtrade steering group hosts a number of events to help raise awareness of Fairtrade. This semester we have held a Fairtrade bake sale in conjunction with the university’s Oxfam society, and have published a Fairtrade Christmas Gift Guide to help provide some inspiration for your festive shopping!

Fairtrade Fortnight is coming up in February and will see a whole host of events being held to raise the profile of Fairtrade on campus, so watch this space for more details early next semester!


5. Set up a Fairtrade steering group

Our Fairtrade steering group meets monthly to discuss various Fairtrade issues and ideas. The groups is composed of staff from the Environment Team, Residential Services, Catering, Procurement, and Students’ Association, as well as students from a variety of year groups, and representatives from the St Andrews Fairtrade Town Campaign.

This year we have also taken on a Fairtrade Events Intern to assist with the planning and publicity of all our events, and are always looking to grow our steering group – if you’re interested just email fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk for more information!


So there you have it! Being named a Fairtrade University is a wonderful accolade, and we hope to build upon our current successes and expand our range of products. If you have any ideas of your own, or want to get involved, contact fairtrade@st-andrews.ac.uk to get started!

Guest Blog: Fairtrade Christmas Gift Guide

giftguideheaderThe Environment Team work closely with the University’s Fairtrade Steering Group, and are proud to present this guest blog written by their Fairtrade intern, Catriona! Read on for lots of great ideas for ethically-conscious gifts…


Shops in St Andrews


Iain Burnett specialise in fairly traded chocolates. Their famous speciality truffles have just started being sold in the store, but there are a range of chocolates available from fruits to floral. The perfect gift for all chocolate lovers!


If you are looking for something a little different, Oxfam currently have a wide range of household items, stationary and gifts, including gifts designed just for Christmas! It’s well worth a look if you aren’t sure what to get for someone.



For cute and individual decorations and pieces Bonkers have a range of Fairtrade wood, metal, glass and fabric gifts.



Looking for something that screams St Andrews that will also keep you warm in the cold winter months? Your Shop in the Students’ Association have some lovely Fairtrade cotton clothing including t-shirts and sweatshirts. Perfect if you are looking for a gift for yourself or someone else.


bootsextractsFor the person who likes a bit of pampering, Boots extract range is all Fairtrade and includes: body butter, body wash, and sugar scrub, in a variety of scents. Perfect for a “treat yourself” evening.



Why not try putting together a Christmas hamper for all those people you aren’t quite sure what to give. Shops all around town have a huge variety of Fairtrade goodies just perfect for a hamper…



For Teas and Coffees, try: Balgove Larder, Save the Children, St Andrews Health Foods, Sainsburys, Tesco, Starbucks, Morrisons, and Spar.

For Chocolates try: Burns Sweet shop, Mitchells Deli, Holland and Barrett, and Luvians Ice Cream Parlour.


Online Goodies

For sports lovers…check out Bala and Nigel’s Eco Store for a range of Fairtrade footballs.

For those who enjoy a tipple…why not get a bottle or case of Fairtrade wine, or for something stronger, try Fair Spirits’ quinoa vodka or Belize rum?

For those that like to accessorize…check out the ethically cool jewellery ranges available from Eighteen Rabbit, Amazon, and Luna Tree.

For children…there is a wide variety of Fairtrade clothing, toys, and more!

For more inspiration…browse dedicated Fairtrade retailers like Shared Earth, Eighteen Rabbit or Etiko’s for a huge variety of clothes, accessories, food gifts, homeware, toys, stationary, and much, much more!


Student Sustainability Blogs

In the Environment Team we do our best to bring you interesting and relevant content about environmental issues…but we’re not the only ones! There are a number of student bloggers sharing their thoughts and ideas on sustainability, and we thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce you to a few of them…


weedsandwelliesWeeds and Wellies

First up is Weeds and Wellies, run by the Uni Hall’s Head Gardener, Charlotte. Her blog is a record of all the activity that takes place in the Uni Hall Community Garden, providing updates on what she has planned for each weekly garden session, which food is ready to be harvested, and tips for maintaining your own garden. Her posts are all accompanied by beautiful photographs of the progress at the Uni Hall plot which is sure to get you inspired! Charlotte also picks a “Gardener of the Week”, which we think is a fantastic way to encourage people to get involved – head on down to Uni Hall at 2pm on Wednesdays to help out and join in the fun…who knows, maybe the next “Gardener of the Week” will be you!


theconsciousstudentThe Conscious Student

Up next we have The Conscious Student, written by flatmates Anna and Kasia. This blog aims to help you “tread lightly on the Earth and be kind to your wallet“. Frustrated at the lack of resources for leading an ethical and environmentally friendly lifestyle on a budget, The Conscious Student was born to share their ideas for socially conscious and affordable choices. The blog has a great variety of content, from thought-provoking articles, product recommendations, informative tips and guides, DIY activities, and a whole host of different recipes, there really is something for everyone!

Check out The Conscious Student on Facebook and Instagram to help you stay up to date with the blog!


lifewithoutplasticNo Plastic Please

No Plastic Please documents one student’s challenge to live for two months without producing any plastic waste. Alexis was shocked at the amount of plastic that we use in our everyday lives and decided to challenge herself to see how much plastic she could cut out, to show to others that it can be done and that plastic-free habits are easily adopted! She has curated a fantastic list of resources for more information, as well as an A-Z Plastic-Free Guide which highlights some fantastic plastic-free alternatives, including shampoo and toothpaste which comes in recyclable cardboard packaging instead of plastic bottles and tubes – we’re intrigued!


standrewslarderSt Andrews Larder

St Andrews Larder is a food blog run by Victoria, a champion of wholesome, home-cooked meals. Her blog features a variety of different recipes that are sure to get your mouth watering, as well as reviews, recommendations, and interviews with local restaurateurs. A strong supporter of buying good, local ingredients, Victoria highlights where you can get these ingredients from retailers and producers in St Andrews. On top of that, every post is accompanied by beautiful photography sure to get you itching to get into the kitchen and whipping up your own culinary creations!

You can keep up with the St Andrews Larder on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Happy reading! If you know of any other student sustainability blogs we’d love to hear about them!