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SFU receives Fair Trade Campus designation

May 10, 2012
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SFU’s commitment to sustainable community development has earned it an official Fair Trade Campus designation from Fairtrade Canada.

The designation highlights the university’s adherence to fair trade objectives and practices—better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

“By supporting fair-trade producers we are not only playing a leadership role locally and engaging our students in this mission, we’re also making an impact in far-away communities,” says Mark McLaughlin, SFU executive director of ancillary services.

The university partnered with the Simon Fraser Student Society and campus food vendors to promote fair trade practices. In the end, says McLaughlin, vendors such as the main campus food-service provider Chartwells discovered the price of fair-trade products such as coffee were not significantly higher than regular products in most cases.

The university has also changed its procurement policies and embedded fair trade standards in the way it does business. For example, all SFU tenders for catering or campus food services now require vendors to provide fair trade coffee and tea.

“The fact that we are the first university to convince one of the big three national food service providers to make the full switch will make it much easier for those who follow,” says McLaughlin.

“We have shown that with effort, ways of doing business can be changed, even in large organizations.”

Sasha Caldera, an SFU alumnus and co-founder of Fair Trade Vancouver, says it’s exciting to see his alma mater receive this designation. “Hundreds of hours were invested into this process over the past decade,” says Caldera.

“Fair trade directly connects development, social and environmental issues together with sustainable consumption. In receiving this designation, SFU is leading public institutions across Canada, and that’s something that all Metro Vancouver residents can be proud of.”

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