A CAMPAIGN is getting underway to win Fairtrade status for Edinburgh College, the capital’s newest and biggest educational institution. If it succeeds, all four of Edinburgh’s colleges and universities will be Fairtrade.
The campaign has the enthusiastic support of Kieran Menzies, a first-year student of mathematics and computing at the College. Kieran first became interested in Fair Trade as a student at Drummond Community High School. He explains: “Fair Trade wasn’t your usual student activity. I was told I’d learn new skills and help other people and so it’s turned out to be. I’ve loved it: the more I’ve learnt about Fair Trade, the more interesting I’ve found it to be.”
As a member of the Fair Trade Student Group, Kieran was instrumental in persuading the school to adopt a Fair Trade policy and sell Fairtrade products in its shop. Now he’s taken his interest in Fair Trade to Edinburgh College where he is setting up a Fair Trade steering group.
The aim is to secure Fairtrade status for the college. To kick start a programme of Fair Trade activities, the UK Fairtrade Foundation has approved a grant of £500 and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum has facilitated a partnership link between the College and the University of Edinburgh, which achieved Fairtrade status in 2004. The University of Edinburgh will be sharing its experience of Fair Trade and mentoring the College.
Commenting on the partnership, Liz Cooper, Fair Trade Coordinator at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Our Fair Trade team at the University of Edinburgh are delighted to be able to share our experiences of being a Fairtrade University with Edinburgh College throughout 2013. Becoming a Fairtrade University in 2004 has allowed us to raise awareness among students, staff, and the wider community of the impacts of our actions on disadvantaged farmers and workers throughout the world.”
Martin Rhodes, Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, commented: “There’s been a real groundswell of support for Fair Trade in Scotland over the past few years and we’re hopeful that the country will soon be declared a Fair Trade Nation, so we’re fully supportive of Edinburgh College’s efforts. Having all four colleges and universities in the capital gaining Fairtrade status, at the same time as the nation bids for this same achievement, really will be the icing on the cake.”
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The Scottish Fair Trade Forum is a Scottish Government-supported charity that supports and promotes Fair Trade activity in Scotland. It is leading and co-ordinating a campaign to help Scotland become a Fair Trade Nation.
Edinburgh College, Edinburgh’s newest and, with 35,000 students, biggest educational institution, came into existence on 1 October 2012 as the result of the merger of Telford, Jewel and Esk, and Stevenson Colleges.
The University of Edinburgh will celebrate ten years as a Fairtrade University in 2014.
‘Fair Trade’ refers to the movement to secure better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
‘Fairtrade’ refers to the certification given by the Fairtrade Foundation and is used to label Fairtrade products, universities and cities.
The Scottish Fair Trade Forum is a Scottish charity (SC039883) and a Scottish company (SC337384). Registered office: Thistle Court, 1-2 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DD.