Focus on Fairtrade

If you’re enjoying a coffee at Walsall Campus’ new Fairtrade café and happen to glance at the clocks on the wall, you may be a little confused.
 
For they don’t just display GMT – they also show the time in Bolivia, St Vincent, Ethiopia and India. The purpose of this is to highlight countries where the produce is sourced from and increase awareness of Fairtrade.
 
Go Eat World is the first University of Wolverhampton outlet which sells Fairtrade tea and coffee exclusively, as well as a host of other products.
 
Innovative initiatives like this have enabled the University of Wolverhampton to officially achieve Fairtrade status, which was awarded in June this year.
 
Hannah Reed, Campaigns Coordinator for the Fairtrade Foundation, formally presented the certificate, to Dr Barbara Gwinnett, along with Mayor Councillor Christine Mills, in the Mayor’s Parlour. She commended the University on its excellent application and outstanding work.
 
The University has worked closely with the City Council on Fairtrade initiatives and helped Wolverhampton become a Fairtrade city.
 
Dr Gwinnett, who has just retired as Dean of the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, has been the University’s representative on the Wolverhampton City Fairtrade Partnership and has been instrumental in achieving the status.
 
Fairtrade products, including fruit, muffins and flapjacks, are now sold in all University catering outlets. The University is also a strong supporter of Fairtrade Fortnight and World Fairtrade Day, with special offers at City, Telford and Walsall Campuses to encourage people to try out the range available.

A long-term commitment

Dr Gwinnett said: “I am very proud that we have been able to achieve Fairtrade status as it is something I feel very passionately about.
 
“The University’s Catering Services have worked extremely hard over the last few years to help us achieve this status, offering a wide choice of products at all outlets and promoting these to staff and students. We have also worked closely with the Students’ Union on this initiative.”
 
Several key criteria had to be met to enable the University to achieve Fairtrade status. A formal Fairtrade policy was created and a special steering group set up, comprising members from a broad cross-section of University departments. This is now chaired by Susan Warrender, from Facilities.
 
The University had to supply an audit of products sold in its outlets, as well as details of awareness events and initiatives, such as its support for Fairtrade Fortnight and holding seminars.
 
Looking to the future, the University is committed to maintaining its status and determined to be at the forefront of Fairtrade ventures. A three-year development plan is now being put together to set out new proposals.
 
It is hoped the University will be able to use other Fairtrade products in the future in addition to food and drink, such as Fairtrade cotton for caretaking and catering uniforms.
 
The Steering Group is also looking at encouraging students to raise awareness about Fairtrade through volunteering among the local community.
 
There is the possibility of incorporating Fairtrade elements into the curriculum. Hannah Reed will be returning to the University to give a guest lecture for students from the School of Applied Sciences studying the environmental ethics module, or with an interest in Fairtrade.
 
These are just some of the many new initiatives being considered to ensure Wolverhampton is at the forefront of future Fairtrade thinking.