York University awarded Fair Trade status

LAST WEDNESDAY York University became one of only 15 universities in the UK to gain official Fairtrade status from the Fairtrade Foundation.

In a ceremony, held with a degree of irony in the Henri Nestle lecture theatre, the accreditation that has taken successive SU environment officers and campaign groups over two years to achieve was presented by Sarah Hoole the Campaigns Manager of the Fairtrade Foundation to the University registrar, Sally Neocosmos.

On a practical level it means that the University has met the foundations 5 key requirements that include the creation of a Fairtrade steering group to implement policy and the selling of Fair Trade products within all campus food outlets.

Mrs Neocosmos commended the importance of students to the achievement with Fair Trade chocolate bars now outselling their more ‘ethically dubious’ equivalents on campus. The launch she argued was ‘just the beginning’ for a campaign which supports an industry which grew by over 50% in the last year alone.

Future developments planned on campus include the expansion of the Fairtrade range in Costcutter to include Wine and the selling of Fairtrade ‘Geobars’ in snack machines.

At a time when student apathy is so widely reported the success of the university in gaining the Fairtrade accreditation is something which demonstrates that York students have the potential to make a real difference. There is widespread support for the Fair Trade campaign to contine to grow in strength.

(Justin Webber – News Correspondent)