University of Derby Fairtrade Committee outcomes 2020-22

Leadership and strategy

Despite the pandemic, we have a Fairtrade Committee that includes University and Union reps, all Procurement and Retail Managers, Chaplains, academics, and students.

A “home” for the Fairtrade Committee within the University’s reporting structure, in the Environmental Sustainability Steering Group chaired by Chris Bussell.

Publicly expressed support for Fairtrade and the work of the Committee from the Union and University’s most senior staff with the newly signed Fairtrade Statement and the recognised Fairtrade Action Plan.

Campaigning and influencing

Online Fairtrade Fortnight events for 2021 included a successful bid to deliver a Multi-Faith Climate Change Action Forum at the Fairtrade Foundation’s first Choose the World You Want Festival during lockdown, and a video for the Youth Exhibition Hall at the same festival. Fairtrade Fortnight 2022 saw us return to in-person events held across all main University campuses (Derby, Buxton, Chesterfield, Leek) plus a Hall of Residence: Fairtrade pancakes; tasting and giveaways; giant banana Fairtrade hoop-la antics; Fairtrade lunches, an ethical mini-market and Fairtrade brownie making.

A better understanding of our Union’s strategic way of working only on campaigns where there is a demonstrable student mandate. This led to us prioritising Fairtrade promotion at Freshers’ Fair, with an invitation to students to get involved in specific ways. A BLC student led a campaign to rally student Fairtrade support through the Union’s Ideas Forum.

Buxton and Leek College welcomed a six-week all-college Fairtrade induction project in September 2021, and, as a result, we involved the Leek Fairtrade Town Committee for the first time.

Procurement, retail and catering

This is the area of work to have taken the greatest hit as a result of the Covid Pandemic, and the strong position we held two years ago in terms of Fairtrade products stocked throughout the University has been severely undermined. Nevertheless, all procurement partners remain committed to building up stocks as and when footfall and purchasing patterns allow. Blends, the Union’s flagship Fairtrade coffee bar continues to stock largely Fairtrade brands.

Through participation in the network of Fairtrade Universities, we have helped to identify and take part in a campaign tackling issues in the NUS’s own supply chain, which does not always facilitate the availability of a wide variety of Fairtrade products for Union procurement.

We have collected Fairtrade sales data so that we can monitor our return to a healthy level of Fairtrade sales across all outlets.

We have identified the University’s Model Tender Questions and Response Guidance, which gives Fairtrade as an example of how supply chains across the University can ensure ethical considerations.

Research and curriculum

We have conducted a new survey of HE staff, and a repeat survey of BLC students to inform our work.

We have promoted opportunities for students to research aspects of Fairtrade as part of their course work or dissertations, especially through Environmental Sciences, Culinary Arts, Law, Hospitality and Tourism.

A significant number of staff have taken part in the annual Global teach-ins, increasing the teaching related to the SDGs across the University.

Impact

Over the last two years, building on learning from previous years, we aimed at more impactful work:

  • During the lockdowns, while in general terms student engagement was low, we rose to the challenge of reaching larger audiences online and were especially successful with our Fairtrade video and Multi-Faith Climate Change Forum
  • We are now developing the student mandate for Fairtrade with the first steps towards the formation of a student Fairtrade Society, based on interest gathered at Freshers’ Fair and subsequent events; plus, approaches to other Societies such as the Vegan Society
  • Buxton and Leek College were willing to allow us to run the six-week all-college Fairtrade Induction Project as a result of the College’s success in being the first to win the re-vamped Fairtrade College Award in 2020. Initial enquiries towards a BLC baseline curriculum audit for Fairtrade, trade justice or ethical consumption themes suggested that the project was key to the College’s input into these issues
  • We have improved the impact of our events through a more targeted use of our resources, putting on events in places with higher footfall; and adding in attractions such as the Fairtrade Hoop-la and Just-Ice ethical ice cream
  • We aim, with every event and encounter, to encourage student and staff engagement with Fairtrade, and to help people make the decision to buy more Fairtrade products

Our new year of work will focus on how we can be even more committed to Fairtrade and how we can get more students involved:

  • Build back the level and variety of Fairtrade products sold on campus
  • Develop student Fairtrade mandate further. Follow up all possibilities for leadership of a student Fairtrade Society
  • Further engagement with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Fairtrade Fortnight student communications 2023
  • Apply the learning from the recent surveys we have conducted and find a way to achieve a higher response rate to a Fairtrade undergraduate survey
  • More active Fairtrade research from staff and students