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Fairtrade Award Recognises Reading University’s Ethical Activities

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The University of Reading has received a Fairtrade University and College status award for its commitment to adopting ethical and sustainable fairtrade policies.

The accreditation is jointly delivered by the Fairtrade Foundation and Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK).

The University of Reading is one of only three UK universities to be awarded two-star status for the 2021-2023 period. The other two are University of Chichester and University of Worcester.

Awards are made every two years and there are 11 mandatory criteria to achieve the standard award. These include having a published action plan to promote fairtrade activity on campus, stocking fairtrade certified products in all retail, catering and commercial outlets, hosting events and engagement activities during Fairtrade Fortnight (held every year), and publicising opportunities for students to investigate Fairtrade and ethical consumption both on and off-campus.

In addition to the mandatory criteria, there are further optional criteria that universities can adopt to achieve additional ‘stars’ for the award. These range from one to three stars, dependent on the level of attainment. 

The University completed 44 of the criteria in total, resulting in the two-star award. High scores were achieved in the following categories:

  • Delivering innovative Fairtrade campaigns and student partnerships to raise awareness
  • A wide range of Fairtrade products available across on-campus catering outlets
  • Integrating Fairtrade awareness and education into university life

Erin Cooper, Lead for the University’s Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “Receiving a two-star Fairtrade University and College status award is an excellent achievement for the University of Reading. It shows our commitment towards reducing the impact of our consumption, sustainable practices, and ethical support towards fairtrade communities and livelihoods.

“We are passionate about continuing to involve Fairtrade practices into our policy making, procurement, campaigns, university studies and, of course, into our food and retail outlets.”

The submission for the Fairtrade University and College award was a collaborative effort, involving multiple teams across the University. These included: Procurement, Sustainability, Campus Commerce, Awards Team, academics, executive support colleagues, the ICMA Café, Reading Students’ Union, the Chaplaincy and Co-op.

The University’s Fairtrade policy is available to view online