Buxton & Leek College has been awarded the new Fairtrade University and College Award, following a student-led audit. Buxton & Leek College and the Union of Students were delighted to be awarded Fairtrade College status to mark the achievements of the past 18 months of work towards the award.
Buxton & Leek College is one of twelve institutions to have been accredited this year under the new standards of the revised award in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation and National Union of Students.
2017-18 saw a pilot cohort of universities & colleges develop the new standards, and now Buxton & Leek College is among the first to be awarded following the nationwide launch of the award in 2018. Representatives from Buxton & Leek College and the Union of Students have been working through criteria 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 students’ 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.
In order to confirm the achievements of Buxton & Leek College, students were recruited as volunteer auditors, and trained by NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation, equipping them with transferrable skills and experience in conducting an audit.
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 has allowed us to develop a robust but achievable set of standards for the revised award”.
Ingrid Keith, Chaplaincy Co-ordinator at Buxton & Leek College, said: “We’re really proud to receive this award, which demonstrates the commitment our staff and students have made towards ethical and sustainable decisions during their time at college. We’ll continue to champion Fairtrade as an organisation and embed this movement for change into our student, staff and community activities.”