UBC Calls On All Universities To Celebrate Fair Trade
Thursday, January 31, 2013
As Simon Fraser University and the University of Guelph join the Fair Trade movement, following UBC, UBC calls for other universities to apply for status
Research conducted by students at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, focusing on what knowledge exists around Fair Trade practice, found that of those surveyed, 36 per cent consider Fair Trade important or very important to them, however, 20 per cent do not know how to identify a Fair Trade product and 36 per cent do not know what products UBC carries apart from coffee*. UBC is addressing this education gap by holding its second Fair Trade week (February 12 – 15) to further raise awareness of what Fair Trade is, what UBC’sas role is and to highlight what products are available on campus.
In 2011, UBC was designated Canada’s first Fair Trade Campus. Fairtrade Canada called UBC, “an example to all universities and the embodiment of Canadian fairness and respect for farmers who produce these products”, and in 2012, two more Canadian campuses followed suit and joined the Fair Trade movement: Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of Guelph.
Jenna Singh, sustainability outreach coordinator for the AMS, says, “We are delighted to have three campuses on board in Canada. Let’s extend Fair Trade status across more Canadian universities in 2013, enabling us to be an example to other countries!”
SFU, who will be participating at this year's UBC event, obtained its Fair Trade Campus designation in May 2012. "By supporting Fair Trade products, we are doing our part to provide decent conditions for farmers and their families in developing countries. We have worked hard to change institutional procurement policies and consumer behavior on our campuses and promoting fair trade is a key part of the SFU strategic vision to demonstrate community and global leadership" stated Mark McLaughlin, executive director of Ancillary Services, SFU.
Kaan Williams, one of the drivers of Fair Trade at UBC and the Fair Trade liaison from the UBC chapter of Engineers Without Borders expands, “All three campuses are focusing on the availability of product. All coffee served, three teas anywhere tea is served and one chocolate, have to be Fairtrade certified. In addition to these, UBC also has Fair Trade fruit, iced tea, sugar, doughnuts and hot chocolate. In the past year, UBC has purchased the following Fair Trade certified products: nearly 1.5 million cups of coffee, 429,000 tea bags, 2,300 chocolate bars and 1, 885kg of bananas.”
Rebecca Irani, marketing and communications manager, University Community Services, says “While food and drink do make up a large number of Fair Trade products on campus, we also want the community to understand that other products including clothing and accessories are increasing. However, their designation can be more difficult to achieve. For example, all clothing we sell in our bookstores is ‘no sweat’ (since 2004), which means that suppliers adhere to fair labour policies, but we cannot actually call it Fair Trade”.
UBC is asking the community to support UBC’s Fair Trade Week’s events including:
- A fair at the Sauder School of Business including the UBC Bookstore at Sauder and the Exchange café on February 13th, 11.30am – 2pm, hosted with the UBC Wellness Fair and CUS Sustainability, Sauder School of Business and Fair Trade Vancouver, vendors will be displaying their products and offering free food and drink samples.
- A pancake breakfast on February 15th at Kaiser Atrium from 9 – 11am, hosted by Engineers without Borders (EWB). Enjoy Fair Trade bananas and chocolate chips. Visit http://glblog.sites.olt.ubc.ca/2012/11/04/engineers-without-borders-fairtrade-pancake-breakfast/
Quinn Runkle, a student in geography and political science and a director of Common Energy UBC says, “You can do your part in Fair Trade Week this year to help raise awareness – simply share this flash mob video we filmed with your friends and colleagues: http://commonenergyubc.com/tag/flash-mob/”.
About UBC’s Fair Trade Week
For more information on the schedule of events and how to become involved by either attending or volunteering, please visit: http://www.food.ubc.ca/fair-trade-week (this will be live from January 23 and will be updated regularly until February 12).
The week is being organized through cross-campus partnerships including the AMS, Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS), SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies), the UBC Bookstores, Engineers Without Borders and students from the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Common Energy UBC (http://commonenergyubc.wordpress.com/) and goBeyond (http://go-beyond.ca/).
*About the Faculty of Land and Food Systems survey
In-person surveys were conducted on campus among students, staff and faculty from March 2-5, 12-13, 2012, before and after UBC’s first Fair Trade week. The detailed survey is available for review.
About Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a different way of doing business. It’s about making principles of fairness and decency mean something in the marketplace.
It seeks to change the terms of trade for the products we buy – to ensure the farmers and artisans behind those products get a better deal. Most often this is understood to mean better prices for producers, but it often means longer-term and more meaningful trading relationships as well.
For consumers and businesses, it’s also about information. Fair Trade is a way for all of us to identify products that meet our values so we can make choices that have a positive impact on the world.
Please see: http://fairtrade.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Rebecca Irani: marketing and communications manager, University Community Services: rebecca [dot] iraniubc [dot] ca
Jenna Singh: sustainability outreach coordinator, AMS: sustainoutreachams [dot] ubc [dot] ca
Julianna Campbell: marketing manager, UBC Food Services: julianna [dot] campbellubc [dot] ca