Fairtrade success!

Wednesday 8 July 2020

The University of St Andrews awarded in nationwide Fairtrade University and College Award

The University of St Andrews is one of the first universities in the country to be awarded the new Fairtrade University 2-stars status under the new standards of the revised award, in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation and National Union of Students.

The University of St Andrews is one of twelve institutions to have been accredited this year, with the 2-star status making the University the third-highest accredited UK institution in 2020. The University and Students’ Association were delighted to be awarded this status, marking the achievements of the past 18 months of work towards the award. Representatives from the University have been working through criteria which are more far reaching than the previous award and provide a wider range of ways for the institution to engage with Fairtrade and ethical consumption.

In order to confirm the achievements of the University, students were recruited as volunteer auditors and trained by NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation, equipping them with transferrable skills and experience in conducting an audit.  Student auditor, Ella Whitaker, recommended the opportunity to other students, saying:

“I found out about the opportunity to help facilitate the audit through being a School Sustainability Representative. Gaining audit training and learning about the global Fairtrade system was a really interesting experience.”

The University’s Fairtrade Steering Committee has been Chaired through the award by Sustainability Coordinator, Connie Dawson. The Committee took an innovative approach to Fairtrade engagement in 2019 and 2020, diversifying events to include aspects of environmental and social sustainability with a focus on ‘fairer futures’. Connie explained:

“we wanted to explore how Fairtrade intersects with pressing issues including gender equality, climate justice, food security, and sustainable fashion, bringing awareness of Fairtrade to a wider audience and increasing meaningful collaborations between students, staff, and the wider community.”

This integrated approach was recognised by this year’s student auditors. Ella remarked:

“it was really promising to see how St Andrews has integrated their Fairtrade work with other sustainability initiatives. Highlighting the interconnected nature of concepts allows students, members of staff and the St Andrews community to better understand the positive change stimulated by Fairtrade and gain a broader understanding of sustainability in practice. I look forward to seeing the innovate ways the University portrays the comprehensive nature of sustainability at next year’s Fairtrade Fortnight!”

If you would like to take part in the University of St Andrews’ Fairtrade Steering Committee, please email [email protected]. For more information about the award, contact [email protected]

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