University of Alberta Named Canada’s 30th Fair Trade Campus!

Edmonton, AB | January 12, 2018. Today, the University of Alberta joined the ranks of nearly 30 post-secondary campuses in Canada that are designated Fair Trade Campuses!

“Congratulations to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, the 30th designated Fair Trade Campus in Canada. It is wonderful to start 2018 by welcoming the 40,000 students from the U of A to the family of fair trade supporters across the country. Changing trade starts with communities like yours making a commitment to support farmers and workers in the global South,” said Julie Francoeur, executive director of Fairtrade Canada.

The U of A’s Fair Trade Campus story started with students. For several years, student groups were promoting Fairtrade coffee on campus, which eventually sparked the movement toward the designation. Over the past summer, Dining Services switched to Doi Chaang coffee in all non-franchise locations, and more Fairtrade tea and chocolate options were made available. The Students’ Union, which already served Fairtrade coffee as part of its political policies, added Fairtrade tea and chocolate options.

“Our students are very interested in what we’re buying, how we’re buying it and how we’re supporting our local farmers. So for them I think it’s very important to be able to say we are a Fair Trade Campus,” said Dolores March, director of hospitality services at the U of A.

Along with offering more Fairtrade products on campus, the designation requires active communications and outreach to the campus community about fair trade. One way this will be accomplished is through signage at participating locations.

"The fair trade signage reminds us every day that we live in an interconnected world. That great cup of coffee or tea we drink on a chilly Edmonton morning was produced by a farm and family living in Ethiopia or Malawi. They deserve the fair trade minimum price and premium," said Brent Swallow, professor and faculty representative on the Fair Trade Campus steering committee.

The Fair Trade Campus designation aligns with several of the U of A’s goals outlined in its Sustainability Plan (2016­–2020) and For the Public Good (Au service de l’intérêt public), and was taken on as a project of the university’s Sustainable Food Working Group. The steering committee was created and, with support from Energy Management and Sustainable Operations, the Office of Sustainability, Dining Services and the Students’ Union, all requirements were achieved within the year.

“This achievement adds to the many ways the U of A continues to collaborate and make progress on sustainability,” said Trina Innes, chief sustainability officer.

Over the next year, the university plans on expanding the Fairtrade products available, increasing education about sustainable food and empowering the campus community to be more aware of the impact of their consumer choices. 

The Fair Trade Campus designation is a Fairtrade Canada, Canadian Fair Trade Network and AQCE program that recognizes colleges and universities committed to fair trade. A third-party certification focused on ethical practices, the designation ensures that partnered producers are not exploited by buyers in developed countries. By successfully meeting the Fair Trade Campus requirements of steering committee, product availability, and visibility and education, the U of A’s North Campus, South Campus and Campus Saint-Jean are officially Fair Trade Campuses.

 “After months of hard work and more than a few emails and calls, I am excited to announce that the University of Alberta is Canada’s newest Fair Trade Campus! The designation motivated the Fairtrade certification of a local roaster in Calgary, which will bring progress to Calgary’s Fair Trade Town Campaign as well. All in all, it has been a pleasure working with the U of A sustainability team, and we look forward to building off this momentum and supporting them with their future fair trade goals.”

—Torrye McKenzie, Program Manager, Canadian Fair Trade Network

"By offering better economic opportunities to farmers, more stable revenues and better working conditions, the principles of fair trade are effective overarching tools to fight poverty in the global South. This is why we wish to congratulate the University of Alberta for becoming Canada's 30th Fair Trade Campus."

—Loïc de Fabritus, Project Manager, Association québécoise du commerce équitable