What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade products are goods produced abroad that are traded according to more ethical and sustainable standards than typical standards in conventional trade. SFU is committed to offering a variety of fair trade options at its Burnaby and Downtown campuses.

Fair trade exists because the terms of trade in the global market are unfair and leave producers vulnerable. It is an alternative approach to conventional trade based on partnerships between producers and retailers. Through fair trade, producers receive a minimum price, improved working conditions, and a social premium that helps them reinvest in their communities. These benefits are guaranteed through standards created by fair trade labelling organizations all over the world.

The following logos represent different fair trade certifiers you can trust.

Look for these logos on products around campus. Fair trade is a demand-based system that allows consumers to vote with their dollars for the world they want. SFU is committed to exercising its own purchasing power by offering a multitude of different certified products on campus through the Fair Trade Campus Program.

Fair Trade Ambassadors on campus are teaching students and faculty about fair trade so that they understand why and how it is important to purchase Fairtrade certified products. Through all of its efforts, SFU is indirectly supporting producers by working towards increasing the demand for Fairtrade so that the movement can continue to grow.


Ambassador Program

The Fair Trade Ambassador Program is a national program that trains citizens to run their own fair trade campaigns. In 2017, SFU started its own on-campus version of the program, the largest of its kind in Canada.

The SFU Fair Trade Ambassador Program is designed to give students the opportunity and resources they need to educate and mobilize the student body to engage in fair trade. The program offers opportunities to learn about fair trade, participate in various on-campus activities, and gain experience volunteering in areas related to sustainable development.

SFU Fair Trade Ambassadors are recognized for demonstrating a strong commitment to fair trade through their passion, dedication and advocacy through a formal certificate following their training, as well as recieving qualifying hours for their Co-Curricular Record.

Becoming a Fair Trade Ambassador

To start, you will complete fair trade training to increase your knowledge as a fair trade advocate. This is a 2-3 hour, asynchronous process, which you will need to pass by 70% to prove your knowledge. Once trained, you can start planning what you want to do during the year, with the support of fair trade leaders across Canada!

As a Fair Trade Ambassador, you will volunteer for various outreach projects and events. Some examples from the the past are:

  • Survey: Designed a campus-wide survey assessing fair trade knowledgeability in students and staff. In the past, this has been completed as a capstone project after consultation with the ambassador’s professor. Skills practiced: concise writing, communications, analytics.
  • Presentations: Spread awareness and education about fair trade through various presentations, on and off campus. Skills practiced: public speaking, research, communications
  • Events: Planned engaging events to inform students about fair trade. Skills practiced: planning, team coordination, public speaking, research.
  • Working with children: Collaborated with the Highlands Elementary School and SFU Childcare to introduce fair trade themes to children. Skills practiced: communication, research, working with children.
  • Social media: Posted regularly to the social media accounts, led social media campaigns, designed posters and graphics. Skills practiced: design, writing, planning, communications.
  • Writing: Created posts for the blog, wrote articles for local news papers, interviewed fair trade leaders. Skills practiced: research, concise writing, interviewing, communications.

Room to Grow

Want to help organize the program's activities? As a Fair Trade Ambassador program executive, you have the opportunity to take on more of a leadership role. In these positions, you will oversee your team's operations, hold meetings, and offer guidance and support for Fair Trade SFU members.

As a bonus, Fair Trade Ambassador program executives can be sponsored to travel to a country in the global south as part of the programs Trips to Origin to learn about the production and export end of our global supply chains. Upon your return, you will write a trip summary report and present about the experience to the other ambassadors.

Executive Positions:

  • President/Co-President
  • VP Administration
  • VP Finances
  • VP Events
  • VP Communications
  • VP Research
  • VP Education

Co-operative Learning Experience

If you enjoy the program and are passionate about fair trade, you could be offered a Co-operative Education (Co-op) position working for Fair Trade SFU. This opportunity may be adjustable according to your personal interests. Some possibilities include coordinating the SFU Fair Trade Ambassador Program, establishing fair trade programs at other schools and universities, or even working with the Canadian Fair Trade Network! This is paid, full-time work that requires additional training from SFU.

Get Involved!

Applications for SFU Fair Trade Ambassador Program 2021/2022 are open! 
Click here for the link to our application. Training will be open for interested applicants to complete until late September 2021.

Interested in participating in fair trade activities at SFU, but don't want the commitment? 
Click here to join general membership of Fair Trade SFU! You won't be organizing outreach projects, but you can still attend meetings, join our Discord server, come to events, get email updates, and be part of our community.

Want more details about how our student group is organized? Check out Fair Trade SFU's terms of reference.

Fair Trade Campus Program

The Fair Trade Campus Program is a national initiative that recognizes post-secondary institutions for their efforts in fair trade. SFU received Canada’s second campus designation in 2012 and there are now 32 designated campuses across the country.

SFU, its Dining and Ancillary Services, Fair Trade Ambassadors, faculty, and student body continue to raise the bar for the school’s commitment to fair trade. Every year during the last week of September, the SFU Fair Trade Ambassadors promote Fair Trade Campus Week. The SFU Fair Trade Ambassadors also participate in events such as the National Fair Trade Conference, Fair Trade Origin Trips to the global south, and the World’s Largest Fair Trade Bake Sale.

In October 2020, SFU announced its new designation as a Fair Trade Gold Campus, the first university in Canada to achieve this status. 

There are many opportunities to get involved in SFU’s fair trade activities on campus. Visit our page about the Fair Trade Ambassador program to find out more, or follow us on social media to keep up to date on our activities.

For more information on the national Fair Trade Campus program, click here.