Oxford is now a Fairtrade University after securing accreditation under the new Fairtrade University and College Award Scheme.
The Fairtrade Foundation announced the result yesterday. It marks a big step forward in ensuring the people who produce the University’s food and drink get a fair cut of the proceeds. It also sets the University challenging goals that will take several years to achieve.
All the departmental cafes and other sites that operate under the University’s central catering contract with Compass took part, as did six colleges. These locations have now committed to sell and promote Fairtrade food.
‘I am proud that people across the University community have come together to secure Fairtrade status for Oxford,’ says Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson. “This is a landmark achievement, and speaks to our collective and individual responsibility to help make the world a better, fairer place for all.” It is particularly appropriate in Oxford, itself a Fairtrade City since 2004.
People from teams all over the University including Environmental Sustainability, Facilities Management and Purchasing helped gain accreditation, working alongside representatives of colleges and the Oxford Student Union. As the accreditation work continues, more colleges and other parts of the University will have the opportunity to get involved, and over time a wider range of Fairtrade goods will become available.
The University worked with 11 other higher education institutions to develop the new Fairtrade Colleges and Universities Award Scheme, with the aim of making it applicable to as much of the sector as possible.
A recent survey of staff and students to gather information to support the University’s application attracted more than 400 responses. 81% said they would like to see a greater variety of Fairtrade goods across the University and 90% agreed that it is important for Oxford to work towards the Fairtrade University Award.