Fairtrade status renewed once again

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Fairtrade status renewed once again

Forth Valley College and the FVC Student Association have had their Fairtrade status renewed for the fifth time and have also receive the brand new Fairtrade University and College Award.

As the first college in Scotland to attain Fairtrade status (March 2011), FVC has been at the forefront of raising awareness of the worthwhile movement and ethos in the field of further education and beyond.

Since first receiving status recognition from the Fairtrade Foundation, the college – in full partnership with the Student Association - has increased the use of Fairtrade food products in its training kitchens and refectories and raised awareness of Fairtrade and Fair Trade amongst students. The annual Fairtrade Quiz is also going from strength to strength and a Fairtrade schools football tournament is a regular in the calendar.

It has also incorporated teaching of the Fair Trade ethos within the curriculum of several departments including: Access and Progression, Care, Health and Sport and Hospitality, incorporated a dynamic Fairtrade policy for the College through the Estates and Facilities Management Departments and Early Education students have written the first of a series of children’s books.

FVC was one of twelve HE and FE institutions that formed part of a pilot cohort over the last academic year, developing the new standards for the revised award in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation and National Union of Students.

Representatives from the college worked closely with the rest of the pilots to steer the course of the new award and create the new standards, which are more far reaching than the previous award, and provide a wider range of ways for the institution to engage with Fairtrade and ethical consumption.

The new award structure encourages partnership between sustainability, catering and academic staff in the institution plus the union and students to cover procurement, awareness raising and campaigning activities. There are also opportunities to engage through teaching and the flexibility to receive points for trying out new and innovative ways to engage.

Joanna Milis, Education Campaigns Manager from the Fairtrade Foundation said, “Research conducted by our partners NUS tells us that 90% of students say they want to buy more products that don’t harm the people that produce them and 84% say they trust the Fairtrade Mark the most of all product marks.

“There is a huge appetite amongst students to understand the impact the products they buy are having on the people and the planet along the supply chain, and to buy ethically sourced products. It is so important to enable students to have access to information about this at a time when there are forming their values and habits for life. Working in partnership with NUS and the pilot institutions has allowed us to develop a robust but achievable set of standards for the revised award. The pilot cohort of worked incredibly hard and with great enthusiasm and we thank them for their support.”

Andrew Lawson, Deputy Principal and Chief Operating Officer, said: “Well done to Lisa Hachemi and the Fairtrade Committee within the college for all their hard work raising awareness of, and promoting the Fairtrade message. They do a great job year in year out.

“We were delighted to be the first College in Scotland to achieve Fairtrade status and we are now delighted to have our status renewed for a fifth time. We are all very proud of our status and to be highlighting and supporting such a worthwhile cause. We will now do our best to move forward to continue to highlight Fair Trade and hopefully be in an even better position to have our status renewed again in the future.”

Alan Buchan, FVC Student Association President, said: “This is great news. Everyone within the college’s Student Association is very proud of the Fairtrade status and it is something we are delighted to be involved with. I have no doubt the new FVSA President will certainly be looking at new ways of raising awareness of Fairtrade throughout the coming year.”

Definition

“Fair Trade” as two words, is a strategy, or movement, for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.  Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalised by the conventional trading system.  In Britain, fair trade is promoted and supported by a wide range of development agencies, campaigning organisations, faith groups, social enterprises and consumer organisations (eg the Co-operative Society). For more information visit  www.scottishfairtradeforum.org.uk

“Fairtrade” as a single word was adopted to denote products that are certified by the Foundation against the internationally-agreed standards that apply to a number of specific product categories.  Fairtrade Labelling is an International Structure which operates through a network of independent, non-profit national organisations in 20 countries around the world, who are all members of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO).  The Fairtrade Foundation is the member for Britain where the Fairtrade Label is known as the FAIRTRADE Mark. www.fairtrade.org.uk

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