Fairtrade University Award Success
The University of St Andrews awarded in nationwide Fairtrade University and College Award.
The University of St Andrews has been awarded the 2022 Fairtrade University and College Award, in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation and National Union of Students (NUS), and Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), after being audited for the academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22.
The Fairtrade University and College Award requires students to engage in partnerships with their institution and students’ union/association to achieve the award. In order to confirm the achievements of the University, three 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, Olivia Sykes commented on the opportunities and challenges at the university, saying: “The University of St Andrews’ Fairtrade team is clearly working very hard to uphold the university’s Fairtrade status. I think the biggest area to work on is communicating these tremendous efforts to students at the university so they are aware! Having more student engagement will also help solidify that certain aspects of the Fairtrade criteria are being met. Overall, I think they have done a fantastic job!”.
The University’s Fairtrade Steering Committee has been chaired through the award by Sustainability Coordinator, Hannah Bowey. The Committee took an innovative approach to Fairtrade engagement in 2021 and 2022, diversifying events to include aspects of environmental and social sustainability with a continued focus on ‘fairer futures’.
Higher education institutions have huge environmental and social impact on the world and not only in the way they choose to reduce their own carbon emissions. The students these institutions educate will go on to graduate and become the teachers, scientists, and politicians, who decide our planet’s future.
By encouraging students to explore their understanding of the social and environmental impacts of their decisions, and making ethical and sustainable the norm, institutions can have a hugely positive influence on the graduates who will become the next generation of leaders.
The Fairtrade Foundation project team, also commented on the University’s commitment to the award: “Some great work demonstrated by the University of St Andrews, despite the challenges faced by this cohort. The issues of sustainability and consumption remain high on the agenda, and have become integrated into the life of the institution.”
Joanna Milis, Education Campaigns Manager from the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “The last two years have been difficult for staff and students, with the disruption caused by the global pandemic. Despite this, institutions have remained keen to make their work on ethical and sustainable consumption prominent. We recognise how difficult it is to keep working to engage staff and students when even delivering core work is a challenge. But, we have also seen the devastating impacts of the pandemic on those who are marginalised around the world, compounded by extreme climate events. There is no time to lose in striving for climate and trade justice.”