What Is a Fair Trade University?

First Fair Trade University - Univ of WisconsinAcross the United States, a growing number of colleges and universities are committing to the purchase and promotion of fair trade products and principals.  These institutions are part of a movement called Fair Trade Universities and Colleges.  The initiative began in 2008 at the University of Wisconsin and in May, 2013 became part of an umbrella group called Fair Trade Campaigns.

The progress of a University or College in its implementation of the program is measured by its progress toward five goals.

Goal 1: Fair Trade Committee.

  • Develop a campaign action plan.
  • Identify individuals and groups on campus that are most likely to sustain the campaign
    • Students?
    • Faculty?
    • Administration/Staff?

Goal 2: Make Fair Trade products available on campus.

  • Make sure that at least two Fair Trade products are available in campus venues
  • Products should be included in university service contracts where possible

Goal 3: Use Fair Trade products

  • Make sure that products are available in campus offices, meetings, and events

Goal 4: Commit to Fair Trade education on campus

  • Publicize efforts in campus publications
  • Host events each semester that teach about Fair Trade
  • Introduce Fair Trade themes and information into curriculum

Goal 5: Develop a Fair Trade Resolution

  • Reinforce the commitments made as part of Goals 1 – 4
  • Get approval of the resolution by campus governing bodies

Since most of the campus fair trade campaigns are started by students, team members are taught to anticipate objections, build coalitions, perform surveys, use statistical analysis of data, and identify needs of the administration to find ways that fair trade programs can support other administration priorities.

The Fair Trade Universities and Colleges movement provides students with a unique hands-on opportunity to explore issues related to globalism and international trade while advocating for economic justice and human rights.  It also allows educational institutions to demonstrate social responsibility in a concrete way.

If you’re interested in participating you can get more information on the program at Fair Trade Universities and Colleges.

Photo Attribution: By Richard Hurd

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