Category: Fairtrade

King’s and KCLSU achieve Fairtrade University status

We are excited to announce that following our Fairtrade Audit in May, King’s and KCLSU have officially been awarded Fairtrade University status!

As you can read in our last blog post, King’s is part of a new scheme led by the Fairtrade Foundation and the NUS, and this was our first year of being audited. Our target was to get accredited and earn one star this year, which we have achieved.

Our Fairtrade University accreditation is valid for two years, but that doesn’t mean we’ll lean back now. We’re already working on updating our Fairtrade policy, will continue our Fairtrade and Sustainable Food Steering Group remotely soon (get in touch with us if you would like to join!), and are starting to put together an action plan to achieve our second star in the next audit.

 

Our Fairtrade University audit

King’s has been an accredited Fairtrade University since 2017, when we re-certified after a few years of not taking part in the scheme. As part of the Fairtrade University scheme, we passed a new Fairtrade policy (as well as a Sustainable Food one), and set up our Fairtrade and Sustainable Food Steering Group. Many sustainability initiatives around food were first discussed in this Steering Group, and the Fairtrade University award pushed us to look at how we could improve further.

So when the Fairtrade Foundation and NUS teamed up to revamp the award scheme and run it jointly, we signed up to be in their 2018-20 cohort.

The new scheme asked us to go beyond the five commitments outlined in the original programme, and focus on five areas of action:

  • Leadership and Strategy, including having policies and statements on supporting Fairtrade
  • Campaigning and Influencing, including supporting campaigns like Fairtrade Fortnight, and running an innovative campaign each year
  • Procurement, Retail & Catering, including offering Fairtrade in a wide variety of categories
  • Research and Curriculum, including offering student dissertation topics on Fairtrade topics
  • Outcomes, including measuring our impact

It also required us to create a Fairtrade Action Plan, which is available on the King’s website here.

As part of the new Fairtrade University scheme, we made lots of improvements over the last two years. All coffee and tea served by King’s Food was already Fairtrade-certified, and in the case of coffee, also organic and Rainforest Alliance-certified. But when it comes to other products, King’s Food have increased the amount of Fairtrade ranges they sell. For example, orange juice sold by King’s Food is now Fairtrade-certified. While they have previously sold Fairtrade snacks like brownies and cookies, many of the cakes you find in King’s Food cafés are made on site by chefs now. Since last year, Fairtrade cocoa is being used to make these treats. During Fairtrade Fortnight, they also introduced Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate at their outlets, with the team from Tony’s coming along to hand out samples. The Fairtrade University Award is a joint programme between King’s and KCLSU, so KCLSU have also made improvements to their sourcing. The drawstring bags on sale at Nought are made from Fairtrade cotton, and KCLSU even serve Fairtrade rum at some venues.

We have also started including questions about Fairtrade and Sustainable Food in our induction survey in King’s Residences, results of which you can find on our Fairtrade page. In addition, we welcome students doing dissertations on Fairtrade and ethical trade issues at King’s, and are happy to support students wishing to carry out research on this with access to data. We also supported staff member Rebecca Brown in setting up the Universities Against Modern Slavery Alliance (UAMSA), a new association between universities which aims to bring the issue of sustainability and labour exploitation in supply chains into the public conscious. In March 2019, King’s hosted the inaugural UAMSA conference, which was a great success. You can read more about UAMSA in this blog post by a student volunteer who helped organise the conference.

Previously, the Fairtrade Foundation audited the universities – but under the new scheme, students are trained by the NUS to become auditors. Four King’s students were chosen to audit King’s this year, and in late May, carried out an audit of King’s by interviewing members of the Sustainability and King’s Food teams. We are now awaiting their final report, and are looking forward to hearing how we have done!

Many of our initiatives around Fairtrade and sustainable food, including sourcing of new products, our coffee cup levy and donation of leftover packaged food were discussed in our Fairtrade and Sustainable Food Steering Group over the last couple of years. The group is attended by the Sustainability team, King’s Food and KCLSU, as well as any interested students and staff members. There is an open invitation to join the group meetings, which take place every three months. To get an invite to the next meeting (likely to take place online at the end of July), email sustainability@kcl.ac.uk

The importance of Fairtrade at King’s   

This blog was written by Nicola Hogan, Sustainability Operations Manager at King’s. 

Kings College London has been Fairtrade accredited since 2017

In order to achieve the accreditation, King’s needs to demonstrate on-going commitment to the organisation in our sale of Fairtrade products and in our engagement with stakeholders. We’ve done this by organising events awhich support and promote Fairtrade and advertise the selection of Fairtrade products on sale across King’s campuses. 

King’s support of ethical organisations is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As we enter this decade of action’, the Ten Principles of Fairtrade ask not just for a fair price for workers, but also champions Health and Safety, Transparency and Accountability and Capacity Building.  It also includes an anti-slavery principle where it protects against child and forced labour. 

However, in recent years the ethical business market has become crowded as more and more sustainable and ethical labels are popping up.  At King’s we support Fairtrade, as it helps to achieve the 17 SDG goals and especially speaks to SDG 5: Gender Equality through it’s support in empowerment of women

In addition, research indicates that farmers often strive to be Fairtrade accredited for the sustainability of the land as oppose to purely economic reasons. For these reasons it’s important that King’s continue to be accredited with Fairtrade.

Simply look for the Fairtrade label on products such as coffee, chocolate or clothing. 

If you’d like to know more about Fairtrade at King’s and perhaps embed Fairtrade in your teaching, research or departmental operations, please contact sustainability@KCL.ac.uk 

My Role as a UAMSA Projects Assistant

This guest blog comes from Josefin Nordahl, second year student studying International Development at King’s and UAMSA Projects Assistant.

As a part of the Universities Against Modern Slavery Alliance (UAMSA as short) conference, we are working to raise awareness of modern slavery by bringing academics, students and businesses together to initiate conversations about the current issues within modern slavery and how to address them.

Rebecca Brown, King’s staff member in the Policy Institute who established UAMSA and the Sustainability Team who aided in the setting up of UAMSA were recruiting for student assistants to help with the establishment of the conference.

I was successful in getting one of the three assistant positions.

From the nervousness building up to the interview and the interesting conversations and follow up opportunities from my involvement in UAMSA, my already existing interest in modern slavery has sparked. So much so that I am planning on writing my dissertation on a topic related to modern slavery later this year. The opportunity was fantastic and gave me the chance to assist and work on something I am passionate about and it has really made it feel less like work and more like an opportunity.

Considering the personal benefits from this opportunity, I have received invitations to other events relating to the subject and the chance to engage in discussions with the leading professionals in the field. My involvement has also helped me in the work I currently do for the Fairtrade Foundation where I have had to use my event planning and organization skills and the knowledge about modern slavery in supply chains in the work for the foundation. I have also learnt a lot about the research and the involvement of producers in this field and this has allowed me to build my own perception of the broad topic of modern slavery and how this better can be dealt with.

But that is not the most important take away from this. The greatest achievement from the inauguration conference we set up in March, is the start of future discussions and collaborations between businesses, academics and students who are all working for the same thing – to end modern slavery.

I look forward to the continued work with UAMSA in the fall and I hope to see more student engagement and involvement from King’s and across other higher education institutions.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

Fairtrade Fortnight will be taking place between Monday 27th February and Sunday 12th March. This year’s theme is ‘take a break’, encouraging people to take some time out to have a Fairtrade tea or coffee together (perhaps with some Fairtrade chocolate for those with a sweet tooth!).

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The aim of the fortnight period is to raise awareness of the plight of farmers outside of the Fairtrade system, who may be exploited in growing, processing and selling their products. The Fairtrade process aims to ensure people get paid a fair price for what they sell, and that they have safe working conditions. You can test your knowledge and find out more about Fairtrade in this quiz.

Events and Promotions

At King’s we’re supporting Fairtrade Fortnight with special offers on food and drink – including a half price brownie with any hot drink and (for those looking for a healthy option) and a half price banana with any salad purchased. Medsin have organised what promises to be an interesting event “The Flipside of Pancakes: Big Food, Food Systems + Global Health” on 16th March, 6-8pm in the Gordon Museum, Guy’s Campus.

 

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Why is Fairtrade Important?

Low prices paid to farmers can mean:
• They can only afford to feed their families one meal a day. This can lead to health problems for their children such as stunting.
• They can’t afford medical care and put off treatment their families really need.
• They don’t have enough money to send their children to school. Lack of money also means pressure for children to work.
• They can’t afford to invest in better farming. That means they can’t improve the quality of their crops and charge a higher price for them.

Fairtrade exists to change this, but needs more people to know why choosing Fairtrade really matters. We want them to understand that Fairtrade means farmers get a better deal for what they grow. This leads to a better and more stable income, and can help them break the cycle of poverty they are trapped in. But many companies are only buying a fraction of their crops as Fairtrade, and even more companies aren’t buying any Fairtrade at all. Not enough companies are doing it, not enough people are buying it and not enough farmers are benefiting from it. By supporting Fairtrade, you’ll be helping to solve these problems and give farmers a better life for them and their families.

Learn more about Fairtrade here and we hope you enjoy some Fairtrade food and drink over the coming fortnight, and beyond!


Richard Milburn, Sustainability Projects Assistant

Swap Shop with F&SD champions!

On 13 May 2015, we held the first ever Fundraising & Supporter Development swap shop to encourage sustainable behaviour change across our team of 113 staff members. It was held in Virginia Woolf Building on Kingsway, lasted for two hours and more than 50 people attended.

The swap shop raised £107 toward the King’s Helipad Appeal, donated 120 items to Oxfam and 30 items to the homeless shelter in St Martin’s In the Fields.

We also had some regular and some Fairtrade home-baked goods to accompany the swapping, and people could donate what they thought their items were worth. Things baked included Fairtrade sponge cake, flapjacks, banana bread and Guinness cake, all of which went down a treat.

There was also music and this turned the event into a bit of a social for our team. We also gave away free Fairtrade tea samples, and also sustainably-produced Green Reggie branded canvas bags, in which people could carry away their booty.

Some people were incredibly generous and donated literally dozens of items, and we also had many clothes given to us by popular fashion label Warehouse, as they are one of our charity supporters. image2Overall, we had a mixture of men and women’s clothes, accessories, shoes, books and homeware items.

The swap shop helped to raise the profile of the F&SD sustainability team, build awareness of our activities and encouraged other team members to get involved. Colleagues straightaway insisted we hold another one, and we currently have plans to host one again after August, once the other half of our team joins us from across the bridge in JCMB.

Please contact Catherine.heath@kcl.ac.uk if you would like any more information about the swap shop.

Fairtrade Fortnight

Join us for Fairtrade Fortnight from Monday 23rd February until Friday 6th March! This year the aim is to raise awareness and educate the public on why to choose Fairtrade products. For Fairtrade Fortnight 2015 the focus is on cocoa, sugar and tea and together with King’s Food and KCLSU, we have some great activities and promotions for you to get involved with.

FT-Fortnight-Tea-Skyscraper-120x600pxKing’s Food venues will be offering a Fairtrade Rocky Road or Granola bar for ½ price with any Fairtrade hot drink purchased during Fairtrade Fortnight. They are also holding two Fairtrade tasting sessions on Tuesday 24th February at Guy’s Campus and Tuesday 3rd March at Strand Campus.

The Waterfront Bar will be offering a 25% discount on their Fairtrade tea ‘Les Jardins de Gaia’ for the duration of Fairtrade Fortnight. There will also be screenings of a short film entitled ‘Fairtrade Matters’ in the Waterfront bar on Friday 27th February and Monday 2nd March at 1pm.

King’s shop will be offering a 10% discount on all Fairtrade clothing (including hoodies) on both Fridays during Fairtrade fortnight (27th February and 6th March).

The Sustainability team will also be taking over the Waterfront Quiz on Thursday 26th February and will be hosting a round of Fairtrade questions.

And finally there will be a Fairtrade bake off on Wednesday 4th March. Please contact the Sustainability Team is this is something you would like to get involved.