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. We are currently working towards our first audit for the new programme, due to take place in May 2020.
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 2018-19, we served over 500,000 cups of Fairtrade coffee, tea and hot chocolate at King's, as well as nearly 100,000 Fairtrade baked goods and chocolate. 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 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. These questions were first included in the survey in 2019, and we will continue to include them in our annual survey, enabling us to tailor our projects towards this.
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 (January, April, July and October), 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, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Students can join societies and student groups looking at Fairtrade and ethical trade. For example, the King's Fashion Revolution group run events on ethical fashion throughout the year. 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.
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.