In 2016, Carleton University hopes to gain Fair Trade Campus designation to showcase our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. This designation is granted to Colleges and Universities that prioritize the availability and visibility of Fair Trade products, and promote and embody Fair Trade values with their initiatives, contributions, and business practices

What Is Fair Trade?

Fairtrade is a movement, a perspective, a business model, a set of values, a passion and more. Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on the partnership between producers and consumers. Fairtrade is a movement centered on helping small producers in developing countries get proper compensation for their commodities, and improving terms of trade to give them a better quality of life. When a product carries the Fairtrade mark, it means the producers and traders have met the Fairtrade standards which are designed to address the imbalance of power in trading relationships, unstable markets, and injustices of conventional trade.

Small producers who want to carry the certification are audited by a third party to ensure that the farmers are being treated well, and Fair Trade standards are being met. The Fair Trade label was first launched under the initiative of the Dutch development Agency Solidaridad, called Max Havelaar, a product from Mexico which was sold in Dutch supermarkets in 1988. Thirty years later, there are over 20 Fair Trade offices all around the world, clubs, societies, and organizations such as the Canadian Fair Trade Network committed to continuing the momentum of this movement and getting the hundreds of now available Fairtrade products into the hands of consumers. Now, Fairtrade represents 1.65 millions farmers, in dozens of countries, and sell millions of products every year.

The Fair Trade Global Strategy 2016-2020 has the following goals: Make trade fair, empower small producers and workers, and foster sustainable livelihoods. We at Carleton University Dining Services want to support these goals by joining the movement and making these products available to our Carleton Community

What Are the Benefits of Fair Trade?

  • Stable prices– for most products there is a Fairtrade minimum prices (Table can be found here) that aims to cover the cost of sustainable production even when the market price fails.
  • A Fairtrade Premium which helps is paid to producers to invest in their communities- it’s typically put towards education, healthcare, farm improvements or processing facilities to increase income
  • Empowerment and partnership by allowing producers to be involved in decisions that affect their future and enforcing accountability and transparency in their business Benefits for Everybody
  • Consumers are able to utilize their purchasing power in a socially responsible way and make decisions at the cash register that are in line with their values and principles
  • Companies are able to use this process to ensure that their trade has a positive impact for the people at the end of the chain. Companies are able to certify and use the Fairtrade mark which has grown to be the most recognized social and development label used worldwide
  • Environment; Fairtrade encourages and rewards farmers who are environmentally sustainable by the following:
    • protecting natural resources on their land
    • Develop, implement, and monitor an operations plan for their marketing techniques which exhibits efforts to protect the environment
    • Always monitoring the effect of current farming practices on the environment and putting a plan in place to lessen those effects

We want to continue to do our part to contribute to global change. Follow the link to find Fair Trade international’s 2016-2020 Fair Trade Global Strategy which focuses on eight of the goals outlined by the UN at the COP21 Climate Change Summit: Changing Trade, Changing Lives 2016-2020

More information on Fairtrade product availability and locations to follow.