Fairtrade Canada

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SFU Blazes the Way for Other Institutions | Fairtrade Canada

By Bryce Tarling

Simon Fraser University (SFU) recently made headlines in Vancouver as Canada’s second Fair Trade Campus. While UBC also celebrated its one-year anniversary as a certified campus, SFU’s designation could be a more significant marker for institutional change in Canada.

Unlike UBC, which handles its food services in-house — and even produces many of its food products on campus — SFU outsources its food service contracts to the large multinational food company, Chartwells. It’s a scenario more typical of other institutions across Canada.

  Students dressed up as "Justice League" superheroes, invite SFU President Andrew Petter to make the university a Fair Trade Campus
  Students dressed up as "Justice League" superheroes, invite SFU President Andrew Petter to make the university a Fair Trade Campus

What Does it Mean?

As a Fair Trade Campus, SFU has committed to serving Fair Trade coffee and tea on its three campuses in accordance with Fairtrade Canada’s guidelines. These guidelines stipulate that all of coffee served by university-controlled food contractors must be 100 percent Fair Trade certified, and that a minimum of three Fair Trade teas be made available at all food venues. The Simon Fraser Student Society was an early partner with this changeover and now sells only Fair Trade coffee in its student-run food venue.

In addition, SFU has implemented an Ethical Procurement Policy that dictates the university will adhere to the International Labour Organization’s Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work regarding minimum wages and benefits, working hours, overtime, workplace health and safety, workplace harassment and abuse, and sustainable agriculture. The guidelines are incorporated into the university’s new ethical procurement guidelines, which took two years to complete.  “Those guidelines will be in every single future contract that SFU uses to engage food service providers,” explains Sasha Caldera, an SFU alumni who is also a member of Fair Trade Vancouver.

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