SFU is striving to be the first Canadian university to become a silver fair trade campus.
This summer, the Canadian Fair Trade Network released updated standards for its Fair Trade Campus Program which added new requirements for the silver and gold tiers in fair trade membership. Most of the new requirements involved in obtaining a silver fair trade status focus on ethically-sourced product availability.
To meet silver fair trade requirements, SFU will need to ensure all coffee and tea offered by the university or student unions on campus is fair trade-certified, and that there is at least one fair trade-certified sugar option at these locations. In addition, at least three chocolate bar options at each location selling chocolate bars must be fair trade-certified, and at least one fruit or vegetable option must also be fair trade.
Along with product availability, obtaining the title of a fair trade campus requires a local university steering committee to ensure continued commitment to the program, as well as a push for the visibility of fair trade options and education regarding the fair trade cause.
The university was the second campus in the country to earn a fair trade campus designation in 2012.
“Since our designation in 2012, SFU has strived to go beyond the minimum requirements,” said Torrye McKenzie, a representative from the Canadian Fair Trade Network.
In its efforts to meet the silver fair trade campus requirements, McKenzie reported that SFU has recently brought fair trade fruit onto campus, but still needs to introduce a sugar option, more varieties of chocolate, tea, and non-food commodities that meet the fair trade standards.
One of the requirements of the program mandates at least one franchise on campus serve one or more fair trade products, and SFU was able to meet this requirement in 2014 with the introduction of Starbucks. The campus Starbucks was one of the first locations to offer fair trade options.
McKenzie predicts SFU will be approved for a silver fair trade campus designation by spring of next year. The 2018 National Fair Trade Conference will be taking place in Vancouver in March, and SFU hopes to be able to celebrate its new silver status at the event.
The Canadian Fair Trade Network is a grassroots organization which aims to increase the demand for fair trade in Canada through their work with fair trade groups on both a local and government level. There are currently 26 fair trade campuses across Canada, according to the network’s website.
“[Fair Trade campuses are] a very supportive network, and we feel it gives students the opportunity to work on small tangible goals that in the end bring positive impacts for farmers and producers in the global south,” said McKenzie.