To put it simply, it’s all in the name. Fair trade ensures workers are being compensated fairly for their products and that they aren’t working or living in exploitative conditions.
“When purchasing fair trade food or items, you can be sure that the producers have been paid a proper wage and have decent working conditions,” says Britney Stojke, marketing coordinator for Aramark. “Choosing fair trade products helps ensure families and communities in developing nations are being treated fairly.”
Now under the fair trade designation, the MacEwan community shows its support for fair wages and working conditions for farmers by ensuring all non-franchised coffee on campus is Fairtrade, and by selling Fairtrade tea and chocolate.
“Fairtrade” and “fair trade” are different terms that are often confused. “Fairtrade” refers only to Fairtrade organizations (such as Fairtrade Canada) or products certified through the Fairtrade International system. On the other hand, “Fair trade” can refer to many different things – the fair trade movement, fair trade products generally (which can include handicrafts), products that claim to be fairly traded but do not carry the FAIRTRADE Mark. The words “fair trade” are not trademarked by any person or organization.
Out of 25 Fair Trade Campuses in Canada, MacEwan University is the second of its kind in Alberta, following in the footsteps of the University of Calgary.
“As a post-secondary institution, it’s important to show that we support fair trade and the producers behind the products,” says Britney. “So often producers aren’t compensated fairly, and their families and communities suffer as a result.”
Choosing fair trade is a relatively small lifestyle change that makes a big impact, which is one of the key messages the sustainability and Food Services teams want to communicate to the campus community.
“As a Fair Trade Campus, one of our main goals is to educate our community about what fair trade is and what it means for workers and farmers,” says Britney.
To ensure that a product is actually fair trade, all consumers have to do is check the label (see right).
Britney says the Fair Trade Campus designation is the first step in MacEwan’s commitment to supporting a fair deal.
“With the help of the Canadian Fair Trade Network, we can source additional products to offer our students, staff and faculty moving forward,” she says. “If the small effort of offering fair trade products and educating our campus can help people in some way, we’re very eager to do so.”
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