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Ulster Awarded Fairtrade Mark

24 August 2012

The University of Ulster has been awarded official Fairtrade status, following a successful awareness campaign run across all four campuses, in conjunction with the Students’ Union.

This award complements the First Class Honours, recently awarded in People and Planet Green League Table and demonstrates the University’s commitment to sustainability and creating a healthy working and learning environment.

Fairtrade products are utilised extensively in University catering and are available for sale in all campus shops and University run outlets, including coffee shops.

In granting the coveted Fairtrade status, the University was commended on:

-the quality of University and Students’ Union Fairtrade policies that effectively meet all five goals, necessary to achieve and maintain Fairtrade status;

- extensive use of Fairtrade tea and coffee, served at a variety of in-house events;

- excellent use of publications and the University and Students’ Union websites, to keep students and staff informed of Fairtrade.

Professor Alastair Adair, University of Ulster Provost of Jordanstown and Belfast campuses, spearheaded the Fairtrade campaign.

He said: “The University and Students’ Union are delighted to have achieved this highly acclaimed award. Fairtrade products give farmers and producers in developing countries a fair price for their goods. We are delighted to be part of this worldwide campaign, which encourages people to buy Fairtrade products.

“In order to achieve Fairtrade status, we had to meet a number of goals including the establishment of a Fairtrade Steering Group, comprising of representatives from the University and the Students’ Union.”

The Students’ Union ran a number of events, such as Fairtrade Awareness Days, Coffee Mornings and Fairtrade Fairs, where students set up stalls on campus, selling handbags, jewellery, chocolate and coffee.

Claire Flanagan, President of University of Ulster, Students Union, said: “The Students’ Union is actively engaging with students to highlight the importance of fair and ethnically traded goods. By getting the message out to students we can hopefully embed this in their lifestyles putting an end to unethical trading.”

The Students’ Union intends to establish a Fairtrade Society later this year.

Notes to Editor:

Fairtrade is a tool for development that ensures disadvantaged farmers and workers in developing countries get a better deal through the use of the international FAIRTRADE Mark.

Fairtrade Labelling was created in the Netherlands in the late 1980s. The Max Havelaar Foundation launched the first Fairtrade consumer guarantee label in 1988 on coffee sourced from Mexico. Here in the UK, the Fairtrade Foundation was established in 1992, with the first products to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark launched in 1994.

For a product to display the FAIRTRADE Mark it must meet international Fairtrade standards, which are set by the international certification body Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO). These standards are agreed through a process of research and consultation with key participants in the Fairtrade scheme, including producers themselves, traders, NGOs, academic institutions and labelling organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation.