How Fair Trade Can Improve Lives

May 14, 2019

When we buy our regular food items in the grocery stores such as coffee or fresh produce, all we see are the vibrant colours and sweet scents. We seldom think about where it came from or who the people are behind the products on the shelves.

The month of May is recognized as Fair Trade month. It seeks to raise awareness and to challenge people to think critically about their purchases. In addition, it also celebrates the incredible work and positive changes brought to communities because of Fair Trade practices.

As a Fair Trade campus, SFU is participating to further showcase how choosing Fair Trade can significantly improve lives in small communities abroad.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade aims to give workers and farmers in developing countries equitable prices and decent working conditions for their products. It is a more ethical and sustainable approach to trade and goes against conventional practices that leaves labourers underpaid. Instead, it improves and empowers the lives of marginalized people.

How does Fair Trade Improve Lives?

Fair Trade priced products cover production and labour costs while an additional premium price goes towards business and community development. This premium is commonly used to invest in healthcare, education or other facilities that the producers require. The workers themselves have the ability to choose their investments and thus can lift their communities based on their needs.

What has SFU done to be a Fair Trade campus?

SFU started to incorporate Fair Trade products in 2013 when it became the first university in Canada to partner with Starbucks to serve Fair Trade espresso beverages and brewed coffee. Since then, the university has continually raised the bar and renewed its commitment to Fair Trade by serving certified products in different locations on campus. Below is a list of all current stores and location that serve Fair Trade products on the Burnaby campus.

Fair Trade options at SFU

Store/Location Product(s)
Renaissance Coffee, Tea
Starbucks Coffee, Bananas
Mackenzie Café Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Bananas
Discover Café Coffee, Sugar
Dining Hall Coffee, Tea, Bananas
Junction 65 Coffee, Tea, Sugar
A&W Coffee
Bookstore Chocolate Cotton Shirts

If you’re not around Burnaby campus, no problem! Here’s an additional list of options across the Lower Mainland.

Fair Trade options and brands in the Lower Mainland


Store/Brand Product(s) Location
New World, Everland Cocoa/Hot Chocolate Burnaby
Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Co. Inc. Coffee Burnaby
Barkleys Chocolate Coquitlam
Take a Coffee Break Coffee Coquitlam
Ziggy’s Cocoa/Hot Chocolate Coquitlam
Los Beans Coffee Delta
Mountain Coffee Ltd. Coffee Delta
Teagosa Coffee Maple Ridge
La Finca Coffee North Vancouver
Moja Coffee Coffee North Vancouver
Ross Chocolates Chocolate Port Coquitlam
Spirit Bear Coffee Coffee Port Coquitlam
Canterbury Coffee Corporation Coffee Richmond
Garden to Cup Organics Tea Richmond
Nature’s Path Cereals Richmond
Salt Spring Coffee Co. Coffee Richmond
Divine Specialty Teas Company Ltd Tea Surrey
Casa del Caffé Coffee Vancouver
Discovery Organics Bananas, Produce Vancouver
Doi Chaang Coffee Vancouver
Earth’s Choice Chocolate, Coffee Vancouver
Milano Coffee Ltd. Coffee Vancouver
M68 Mercantile Inc. DBA Caffe Umbria Canada Coffee Vancouver
JJ Bean Coffee Roasters Coffee Vancouver
Organic Products Trading Company Coffee Vancouver
Westcoast Coffee Trader Coffee Vancouver
VOLO Athletics Sports Balls Vancouver

How Does This Relate to Zero Waste?

The practice of zero waste aims to minimize our environmental impact on the planet and challenges us to lead more sustainable lives. It calls us to examine and to think about our impact from the production to consumption of our resources. Fair Trade offers us the opportunity to connect with producers and to help them achieve their own sustainable growth and development.

So next time you purchase your coffee, tea or other Fair Trade products, know that your simple decision is another positive step towards social and economic equity.