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King's is committed to supporting, promoting and using Fairtrade goods. Co-signed with KCLSU, our Fairtrade Policy ensures that we buy and serve Fairtrade on campus, promote the positive impacts of Fairtrade, and engage students and staff through our Fairtrade and Sustainable Food Steering Group. 

We were certified as a Fairtrade University in 2017, and in 2018, signed up to take part in the new Fairtrade University Award developed by the Fairtrade Foundation and the National Union of Students/Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK). We are proud to have been re-certified under the new scheme in 2020, and have earned our second star in 2022. 


To ensure we continually work on and improve our Fairtrade commitment, we have developed a Fairtrade Action Plan, which can be viewed and downloaded here. This is updated regularly to reflect changes. Annual updates on our progress on Fairtrade can be found in our Environmental Sustainability Reports. 

In 2020-21, we served over 45,000 cups of Fairtrade coffee, tea and hot chocolate at King's, as well as over 6,000 Fairtrade baked goods and chocolate. As outlets reopened in 2021-22, these numbers rose again, with over 200,000 Fairtrade hot drinks sold so far. We will continue to monitor this data to show that we are working towards increasing the sale of Fairtrade products on campus. 

We also know that our Fairtrade work is important to students, and have included questions on Fairtrade and sustainable food in a 2019 survey all students in King's Residences complete before moving in. From this survey, we found out that 61% of the nearly 6,000 students surveyed think buying Fairtrade makes a difference. Buying Fairtrade products was also one of the top 5 actions students said they personally support to ensure their food is sourced sustainably, with 38% of respondents saying they buy Fairtrade products. This is compared to 87% who reduce the amount of food they waste, 45% who buy locally produced food, and 39% who eat less meat or buy organic food. Only 1% of respondents said they don't think there is anything they can do to help ensure food is sourced in a sustainable way. 

Since then, we have discussed Fairtrade as part of our King's Climate Action Network Procurement & Waste sub-group. We know that the supply chain is an important area for students and staff, and carried out a survey as part of our consultation on climate action. 94% of respondents said supply chain emissions is fairly or very important, and respondents suggested actions such as local and green suppliers, writing requirements into contracts, and establishing a sustainability procurement team and training independend auditors. In the same survey, we asked students and staff what they would like to see King's do, and food was a popular priority area among respondents. 

How to get involved in Fairtrade and ethical trade at King's

There are various ways for King's students to get involved in the Fairtrade campaign at King's. 

Both students and staff are invited to join our Fairtrade and Sustainable Food Steering Group. The group meets every quarter and discusses how to improve the sustainability of our catering outlets. Regular members of the group include representatives from Sustainability, King's Food, KCLSU, as well as student socities and staff Sustainability Champions. The group is open to all. To find out when the next meeting is and to join, please email

Students can join societies and student groups looking at Fairtrade and ethical trade. You can also take part in events run by the King's Sustainability team throughout the year, but particularly during Fairtrade Fortnight (February-March each year). During this time, King's Food will put on special promotions on Fairtrde items, and we will run events such as the talk with Fairtrade sugar cane farmers in 2020, vegan Fairtrade brownie baking class in 2021, and talk on embedding Fairtrade in organisations in 2022. 

If you are interested in writing a dissertation on Fairtrade and ethical trade, we have a range of suggested student projects. These may change, but Fairtrade is one of the areas we would like to investigate. 

Staff members who would like to get involved can sign up to become Sustainability Champions. The programme helps staff embed sustainability into their department no matter where at King's they work, and this includes better purchasing of goods. 

If you are an academic researching issues related to Fairtrade, you can join the Fairtrade Directory of Supporting Academics




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