SFU named Canada’s first Fair Trade Gold Campus

On World Coffee Day, Simon Fraser University was proud to announce it has been designated by Fairtrade Canada and the Canadian Fairtrade Network (CFTN) as the first educational institution in the country to attain Fair Trade Gold Campus status – the highest level of designation.

Fairtrade aims to make a positive difference in the lives of farmers, workers, and communities around the globe by paying fairer prices and ensuring decent working conditions. Since being named a Fair Trade Campus back in 2012, SFU has shown leadership on its campuses, in its neighboring communities and across Canada.

“SFU continues to set the high bar when it comes to committing to sustainability and trade justice,” says Julie Francoeur, executive director of Fairtrade Canada.

SFU has not only changed its procurement policies by committing to serving Fairtrade products like coffee, tea, chocolate, avocados and bananas, but has also encouraged major foodservice companies to serve Fairtrade products. As an example of SFU’s advocacy work, Starbucks introduced Fairtrade espresso at SFU in 2013 – a first for any higher educational institution – and it is now served on campuses across the country.

“What started out as a grassroots student initiative on its campus 10 years ago, SFU has become an exceptional leader doing much to raise Fairtrade awareness across Canada and inspiring others to do likewise,” says Sean McHugh, executive director of the CFTN.

In 2018, SFU launched an award-winning, student-run Fair Trade Ambassador program where students educate others through their on-campus outreach. The Ambassadors also introduced Fairtrade roses at Convocation and worked to assist the University Highlands Elementary School, The Point Church, and the SFU Childcare Society to become Fair Trade designated as well.

In 2019, Fair Trade student ambassador, Elysha Fong, brought national attention to SFU when her essay entitled “The Value of Campus Work: Enjoying Personal Growth Opportunities Beyond the Classroom” won the grand prize in a national publication.

“We are honored to be the first campus to receive this Fair Trade Gold Campus recognition,” says Mark McLaughlin, Chief Commercial Services Officer, SFU Ancillary Services. “This achievement is the result of our faculty, staff, and students taking action and speaking out in support of farmers and workers around the globe, not only at SFU but in our communities as well.”

SFU’s Fair Trade journey, which began with a few vocal students 10 years ago, has culminated with today’s Fair Trade Gold Campus designation. The efforts, as a community, have made a real impact in improving lives for farmers and their families for generations to come.

Dawson College is now a Fair Trade Campus

While we all enjoy Fairtrade Month in May, Dawson College in Montreal had extra reason to celebrate, with their recent designation as Canada’s 39th Fair Trade Campus.

Fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate have been available on campus for some time, so achieving the designation was a logical next step for the college, which has more than 11,000 students.

The cafeteria and Sustainability Office worked closely to ensure that they met the criteria for designation, which meets the college’s core value of ‘well-being for all’. In addition to Fairtrade coffee, tea, and chocolate, Dawson focuses on sustainable sourcing for other products, as well as local ingredients sourced from a 150km radius.

While the designation has been celebrated online for now, more activities are planned for when students and staff are all back on campus.

Fair Trade Programs Website Now Live

L’Association québécoise du commerce équitable, the Canadian Fair Trade Network and Fairtrade Canada have jointly launched a new website dedicated to Canada’s Fair Trade Programs. The new site – fairtradeprograms.ca – consolidates our individual pages into one fully bilingual site with sections dedicated to Towns, Campuses, Schools, Events, Workplaces and Faith Groups.

Whether you are looking for a list of existing designations, or details about how to get your community group Fair Trade designated, the site has all the information you need. We’ve also built in an impact calculator so you can get an estimate of the benefit your group could provide to farmers and workers in the Global South.

The next phase of the project will see the creation of a resource hub for groups that are already designated, and those working towards it. This will include documents, videos and images, and a discussion forum, along with webinars and learning opportunities. Development on this will continue through 2020.

First Silver Fair Trade Campus – University of Toronto Mississauga

We are pleased to announce that the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) is designated as the first Silver Fair Trade Campus in Canada.

UTM was designated as a Fair Trade Campus in September 2016. Since their designation, they have driven demand across their campus for more fair trade product availability, and challenged the Fair Trade Program partners to recognize these efforts to go above and beyond the base designation criteria. A spokesperson for UTM explained: “We continue to push forward and be better each year by bringing in more Fairtrade certified products, hosting more events, and educating the UTM community in more interactive and effective ways.”

Silver and Gold designations were developed in order to recognize a campus’ efforts, such as those of UTM, to deepen their commitment to the fair trade movement and increase the impact for producers in the Global South by increasing demand and sales of fair trade products.

Julie Francoeur, Executive Director of Fairtrade Canada, congratulated UTM. “This first Silver designation is a real achievement for everyone at UTM who has worked so hard to broaden the reach of fair trade across the campus. A huge thank you to the team for pushing to get more Fairtrade certified products in food outlets, and finding creative ways to engage students and staff.”

Sean McHugh, Executive Director of CFTN, also spoke about the significance of the designation. “It is with great pleasure that we congratulate the University of Toronto Mississauga on this milestone achievement! We really enjoy working with the team, and I don’t doubt that there is more to come from them with their support for fair trade and their push for sustainability.”

Learn more about UTM’s Silver designation here, and if you’re on campus be sure to attend the celebration in the Grand Hall on January 28 from 11am to 2pm.