Edinburgh University Students' Association is proud to be a Fairtrade institution – our status is accredited by the Fairtrade foundation. Fairtrade products are a guarantee of higher wages and working conditions for those involved in the production of goods. As well as this, Fairtrade strives to give positive benefits to those workers and groups that they support. With modern slavery an ongoing issue, it’s crucial that we get our goods, from coffee to clothes, ethically, and the Fairtrade mark is a great way to ensure this.
In 2004, on the back of student activism and passion, we became a Fairtrade institution alongside the University. Here’s the original motion passed at student council! Students always drive us to better ourselves across all sustainability causes, and that means we have pushed ourselves to expand our Fairtrade activity from the first year up to the present.
What we currently do
All our tea, coffee, and bananas are Fairtrade, meaning three of the areas most exploited in food and drink procurement are accounted for. Further to this, we stock Epona clothing as a commitment to Fairtrade cotton. We continue to increase our range of products, such as Green and Black’s chocolate. Our local food policy means we source our fresh food, such as meat and dairy, from within 35 miles wherever possible. We also work closely with the University’s Social Responsibility and Sustainability department on Fairtrade.
How students are involved
Fairtrade fortnight is our annual celebration of Fairtrade, where we raise awareness alongside student groups across campus. We regularly work with our green groups such as People and Planet and The Buchanan Institute. Another great example is the Hearty Squirrel Food Cooperative, who joined our Social Enterprise programme this year. As a result, they expanded their food offering to the student community, allowing more students to access locally sourced fruit and veg.
"The Students’ Association has been committed to the principles of fair trade for nearly two decades. In 2004, we were the first Students’ Union in Scotland to be awarded Fairtrade University status, alongside the University of Edinburgh (in a joint accreditation) by the Fairtrade Foundation. We are proud to say that we have attained continuous re-accreditation since then through our commitment to selling Fairtrade beverages in all our outlets as well as a range of Fairtrade and fairly-traded products in our shops.
Fairtrade Fortnight has allowed us to showcase our belief in fair trading when we typically promote the brand, invite a local Fairtrade shop to sell goods on our campus and hold events such as wine-tasting sessions of Fairtrade wine. A highlight was in 2014 when we hosted producers from India and Nicaragua who engaged with our students in focus groups and shared their stories with us. It really brought home to us the human side of ethical purchasing choices." – Ollie Glick, Vice President Community