Fairtrade & Greenwich

The climate crisis is an immediate and ever-increasing threat and those in climate vulnerable countries are already seeing its impacts from droughts and crop disease to floods, heatwaves and shrinking harvests.  

What is Fairtrade?

The Fairtrade Foundation explains Fairtrade as ‘a system of certification aiming to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient’.

  • For farmers it means… workers rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay.
  • For shoppers it means… high quality, ethically produced products.

Why are we proud to towards Fairtrade?

  • Aligning with our university target to meet net zero by 2030 to tackle climate change, Fairtrade allows farmers to create change by investing in climate friendly farming techniques.
  • Fairtrade standards provide and promote training for farmers on how to switch to more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
  • Fairtrade has been shown to increase standards of living and reduce risk and vulnerability for farmers and workers. The Fairtrade Minimum Price provides a safety net meaning they can have better cash flow and greater access to credit. This in turn leads to farmers being able to invest in more sustainable food sources.
  • Fairtrade standards protect workers basic rights including safe working conditions, right to join a trade union, prohibits discrimination and illegal child labour.
  • Fairtrade believes gender equality is important to social sustainability and have 350,000 women farmers and workers as part of Fairtrade.

What are we doing as a University?

The Fairtrade Accreditation: We work to the Fairtrade accreditation for universities; this includes working with our caterers, staff, and students to increase the lines of Fairtrade products sold and brought on campus and to increase awareness around Fairtrade.

Our Fairtrade Policy and Action plan: Our Fairtrade Policy outlines our commitment to increasing ethically supplied products to the consumer, whilst our Fairtrade Action Plan outlines our pathway to accreditation success.

Our Fairtrade Impact Report covers the actions and outcomes the university has had on Fairtrade, trade justice and ethical consumption. It analyses the progress made through our SMART action plan and how we delivered against our KPI’s, and objectives.

Campaigns and events: We hold events every year throughout Fairtrade fortnight, which is usually between February and March. Our previous Fairtrade fortnight highlights can be found here Ethical Food & Fairtrade Fortnight Highlights | Sustainability: University of Greenwich. We also hold innovative campaigns around Fairtrade, such as our Circular Clothes Swap spreading awareness of Fairtrade and Fashion in 2024.

We produce Fairtrade surveys to gain information on students’ attitudes, priorities, concerns, expectations, needs, behaviours, and suggestions around Fairtrade at our university. This is released once per semester. The 2023-2024 survey results can be found here.

How do I know if a product is Fairtrade?

In all of our cafes and Students Union shops, just look out for the Fairtrade logo!

Each outlet should have a clear section in the outlet of the Fairtrade products they sell. This may incorporate the green and blue colour scheme. If a product has the Fairtrade logo on it, it means it is Fairtrade certified.

Like this!

What Items are Fairtrade?

You can find Fairtrade tea, coffee, sugar, hot chocolate, snacks such as chocolate, brownies, flapjacks etc., Juices and Fruit*

Let us know if you would like to see anything specifically Fairtrade sold in your outlets!

*Items that are Fairtrade will differ in individual outlets

Opportunities for Students to Investigate Fairtrade

A great way to make any coursework or dissertation question unique, up-to-date and relevant is to base it around current affairs and future topics which affect and will affect industries, careers and personal lives worldwide. Therefore, one of the most relevant topics to date is that of sustainability.

Examples of Coursework / Project Ideas:

  • Ask students to create an advertising / marketing campaign on: Fairtrade’s impact on climate change, student engagement in Fairtrade issues, how lives of Fairtrade farmers have improved, or the impact Fairtrade has had on women farmers.
  • Set up a debate, assigning groups of students to represent different members involved in Fairtrade. Help encourage research around the subject, improve communication and debating skills and learn the roles and impacts of Fairtrade
  • Look into the law around Fairtrade, compare different countries requirements and ask the question; is there enough law supporting Fairtrade?

Investigating Fairtrade (Living Lab):

There are many ways to undertake research and analysis from a range of disciplines into Fairtrade.  We suggest you look at what the Fairtrade Foundation is doing and how Fairtrade helps address key social, environmental, and economic issues.  

You can undertake a literature review on the subject to help develop a dissertation question. Remember research can also be applied to how the university, our caterers and our outlet customers consider sustainability within business or in their lives as consumers.

Click here for more information.

How We Can Support You

If investigating Fairtrade in your coursework or dissertation has sparked your interest, please email sustainability@gre.ac.uk to get support if needed. Also please let us know if you have or are planning to investigate Fairtrade, we would love to hear about it!

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