All large organisations have global and local impacts on environmental and social sustainability. This also goes for universities, which can uphold their responsibilities with the aid of their greatest asset – their students.
Of the more than 200 third-level educational institutions worldwide that follow the Fairtrade certification system, eight are in Finland. These universities strive to continually increase students’ awareness of the problems of international supply chains and the need for responsible consumption, and encourage people to act for a fairer world. Universities that operate in accordance with the Fairtrade system also source responsibly produced products and support sustainable production.
With a global reach, the Fairtrade International certification system contributes to the pursuit of several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first of the 17 SDGs is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, and this is a central aim of all the Fairtrade organisations, including Fairtrade Finland. Efforts to achieve this goal also contribute to achieving the second SDG, which is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. In addition, the Fairtrade certification system contributes to gender equality, decent working conditions, responsible consumption, climate action, peace and justice and partnership.
Students have a crucial role to play in bringing about long-lasting and sustainable change. The University of Turku was awarded the ‘Fairtrade University’ title by Fairtrade Finland in 2018. The university met the criteria for the title thanks to the hard work and dedication of the university’s students.
No one has to go it alone in trying to make their university a fairer place: you’re sure to find other students who want to join the cause. To give you some ideas, here are some of the areas where there is always room from improvement when it comes to fair trade:
- Advocate for your university to provide more certified products in your university’s restaurants and cafes, such as Fairtrade-certiﬁed fruit, juices, coffee and tea.
- IIncrease awareness of Fairtrade Finland’s certification system among students in your university, the student unions, faculties, student associations, and staff by holding info sessions, campaigns or other events. Ask us about the Fairtrade system – we’re more than happy to help.
- Get your friends involved – it’s more fun together, and many hands make light work!
- For more tips on how to get started or for new ideas, see the Fairtrade handbook for organising activities in universities, ‘Reilun kaupan korkeakoulukäsikirja’ (opens in a new tab).
- You can order material for your campaign via this link (opens in a new tab).
The Finnish student movement has always played an important role in driving social change, and students will continue to advocate for a more ethical world. We welcome you to join us in spreading the message and promoting fair trade!
Specialist, Fairtrade Finland universities
This blog post has been published as part of the project Sustainability holds us up, uphold sustainability, run by SYL and eight student unions.