This was written by Queenie Lei, an undergraduate Communication student who is minoring in International Studies. During her free time, she loves to hang out with her friends and watch dramas!
During September 26 to September 30th, Simon Fraser University has recognized this week to be Fair Trade Campus week, celebrating it’s fourth anniversary as a Fair Trade Campus and the accomplishments SFU has achieved within the last four years. Some of the achievements include: becoming the 2nd Canadian university to be certified as a Fair Trade Campus in 2012 and being the recipient of the inaugural Canadian Fair Trade award in the Campus of the Year category in 2014. Just last year, Simon Fraser University sold over 18,000 pounds of fair trade certified coffee and mentored various universities and colleges across Canada to receive their Fair Trade Campus designation.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade generally refers to the broader concept of doing business fairly and decently. It is an initiative taken by consumers to ensure producers such as farmers and artisans to get a better deal for their products. Fair Trade is also a tool that aims to empower marginalized producers with the proper resources, capacity, and key relationships to improve living conditions within their own communities.
Examples of fair trade products include chocolate, sugar, coffee, spices and much more! If you would like to find out the complete list of all Fair Trade products currently sold in Canada, please visit here.
Fun Fact #1: Did you know that Vancouver is certified as a Fair Trade town? Vancouver earned this designation in 2010.
Without the implementation of fair trade initiative, some farmers would be underpaid for their labour. However, when we buy a fair-trade certified product, the producers are paid a fair price that covers production costs and adequate living standards for hired labour. On top of the guarantee of a fair price, producers are also paid an additional price premium, which goes towards business development and community initiatives such as improving access to health and education. In addition, producers have the ability to decide how they want to use the premium as well. In some cases, most fair trade producers invest their money in education, healthcare, farm improvements or processing facilities. For example, the members of Apicola Honey Cooperative (a fair-trade certified producer company located in Uruguay) have used their Fairtrade premium money to improve the administration of the co-op and the opportunity to participate in international trade fairs. In terms of improving administration, the company now offers training to their members in the organic system of production, honey production and fire risk mitigation. According to Timoteo Teixeira (secretary of Apicola Honey Cooperative), she mentions how fair trade has “…brought trading security to our business, gave us access to pre-harvest financing of contracts, and improved the quality of our products”. To read more about Apicola Honey cooperative, please visit here.
Any products that have the following Fair Trade logo are certified as fair-trade. And sometimes, these fair-trade products are also certified as organic.
As a certified Fair Trade campus, SFU has implemented many initiatives to promote fair trade. Simon Fraser University was the first university in Canada who had a partnership with Starbucks. In this partnership, customers have the opportunity to choose the Fair Trade certified option for their handcrafted espresso beverages and brewed coffee. Simon Fraser University has also partnered with Ethical Bean Coffee, a 100% fair trade and organic company who roasts their coffee in Vancouver, outsource their beans from certified Fair Trade producers and give back to their communities.
As a Fair Trade Campus, all coffee served at SFU dining locations are Fairtrade certified. Aside from fair trade coffee, Simon C’s and Mackenzie Café also offer fair trade tea and chocolate options like Camino chocolate bars and Numi organic tea. Although I have not tried these two products, I have purchased fair trade certified products such as chocolate bars and fair trade certified tea and will continue to do so.
What will you do to raise awareness about fair trade products amongst your peers and family this week?
Happy fair-trade shopping from the Blogging Team!