New ethical purchasing policy adopted

January 12, 2006, vol. 35, no. 1



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Fair trade coffee in all SFU coffee shops and a new ethical purchasing policy for apparel carrying the university insignia represent a new direction for SFU.

“We do have a responsibility to think about ethical issues,” says VP-academic Pat Hibbitts, who has spent the last three years overseeing a student-led task force to develop and introduce the policy.

Peg Christopherson, a mature student majoring in communication and co-chair of No Sweat SFU, has devoted more than 400 hours to the project and researched and wrote the policy that was recently ratified by the SFU board of governors.

“We had to build the policy from the ground up and everybody has learned a lot,” she says. “I'm tired, but I'm also pleased that all the years of work are going to bear fruit.”
The policy currently requires all SFU coffee shops to offer a fair trade coffee option and ensures that all apparel with university insignia is manufactured according to the International Labor Organization's core labour conventions.

“The policy, over time, looks at bringing in other products that the university purchases that are available under no-sweat policies,” says Christopherson. She also envisions a consortium of western universities with a common compliance form for one-stop ethical shopping from suppliers. “That's the next direction that SFU has to take.”

Hibbitts notes the policy maintains authority for purchasing in the administration and provides transparency to the community.

The policy also calls for an ethical policy committee, with membership from all university communities, to work with the administration to implement the policy. To view the policy visit http://www.criticalthoughts.ca/nosweat/

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