Oxford Brookes receives Fairtrade University Award

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Fairtrade award for Oxford Brookes

Oxford Brookes has been awarded the new Fairtrade University Award following a student-led audit last month (May 2020).

The University is one of just twelve institutions to have been accredited this year under the new standard in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation and the National Union of Students (NUS).

On behalf of Oxford Brookes, the Environmental Sustainability Team would like to thank all staff, students and community partners for their efforts in pursuing this award over the last 18 months. We look forward to continuing to work with the Fairtrade Foundation in the years to come.

Michele Morley, Environmental Sustainability Manager

Fairtrade University status recognises the hard work which has taken place over the past 18 months at Oxford Brookes.

The re-award to Oxford Brookes continues its long-standing relationship with the Fairtrade Foundation, having been the world’s first Fairtrade University in 2003. The University also helped to develop the pilot award’s criteria in 2017-18.  

The new award’s structure encourages partnership between sustainability, catering and academic staff, plus the students’ union and student body, to cover procurement, awareness raising and campaigning activities. There are also opportunities to engage through teaching and new and innovative ways to engage.

In order to confirm the award, students were recruited as volunteer auditors and trained by the NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation, equipping them with transferable skills and experience.

The new award structure addresses 11 mandatory criteria covering catering procurement, awareness raising, leadership, campaigning activities and the introduction of new themes and actions to encourage deeper engagement across the University. 

A continued commitment to Fairtrade was an important part of choosing a new catering partner at the start of this year. Gather & Gather have already introduced a new locally roasted Fairtrade coffee and the University is working with them to increase the range of Fairtrade products available across its campuses.

Other highlights and deliverables have included: 

  • annual fairtrade fairs to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight
  • Meet the Grower events
  • lectures from Fairtrade company owners such as Divine Chocolate
  • Fairtrade patron led 'Learn and Lunch' events
  • Fairtrade fashion events
  • the showcasing of Fairtrade products on sale through pop-up catering stalls.

Fairtrade’s vision is a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future.

Michele Morley, Environmental Sustainability Manager, commented: “We are proud of our long history as a Fairtrade University. As a large and complex organisation, we recognise our environmental and social impacts and the pivotal role we have in shaping positive change.  

“On behalf of Oxford Brookes, the Environmental Sustainability Team would like to thank all staff, students and community partners for their efforts in pursuing this award over the last 18 months. We look forward to continuing to work with the Fairtrade Foundation in the years to come.” 

Joanna Milis, Education Campaigns Manager from the Fairtrade Foundation said: “Research conducted by our partners NUS tells us that 90% of students say they want to buy more products that don’t harm the people that produce them and 84% say they trust the Fairtrade Mark the most of all product marks. 

“There is a huge appetite amongst students to understand the impact the products they buy are having on the people and the planet along the supply chain, and to buy ethically sourced products. It is so important to enable students to have access to information about this at a time when they are forming their values and habits for life. Working in partnership with NUS has allowed us to develop a robust but achievable set of standards for the revised award.

Further information on Environmental Sustainability at Oxford Brookes can be found on the University’s dedicated webpages