“How many different Fairtrade branded products are there in the UK?”

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First week of Fairtrade Fortnight is about to end. Let’s have a look of what has happened so far.

Last Monday and today the sustainability team was at the DMU Campus Centre with a stall raising awareness about Fairtrade, whose meaning is straightforward: it is about fair trading. By choosing Fairtrade branded products at supermarket, bars, shops you are making possible for the producers, that are mainly small company in developing countries, to have fair price, fair terms of trade, decent working conditions and local sustainability. The best known products are, of course, chocolate and coffee, but there are a lot more, for example sugar, teas, fruit, biscuits, wine, beer, honey, jam, nuts, rice, beauty products, cotton clothes, jewellery made by Fairtrade gold and so on.

You might be surprised at how Fairtrade stuff there is in the UK and all over the World. Indeed, at our stall this morning there was the possibility to enter a draw competition and win a lovely box of Fairtrade chocolates by answer to two simple questions. One of them was: “How many different Fairtrade branded product are there in the UK?” and the possible answers were: a) 40, b) 400, c) 4500+. What do you choose?! Well, surprisingly the correct answer is more than 4500! Did you get it right?! The other question was about how long DMU has been a Fairtrade University and the answer is five years. The good news is that most of the people who entered the quiz, made the right guess for both questions. In fact, De Montfort University is committed to be a Fairtrade University since long time and Leicester as well was one of the first places which was registered as a Fairtrade City in 2002. All year round, both at DMU and around the city centre, you could easily find and buy Fairtrade products.

As part of the second week of Fairtrade Fortnight, the sustainability team have organised a lunch talk with Keren Long on Wednesday 4th March at at 1pm in Hugh Aston, room 2.06. Keren used to work at George, Asda, as a Director of Brand Development exploring the challanges of ethical fashion supply chains. Keren currently works for a new start-up company in America, Piece and Co, which is committed to sustainable approaches to employment that will lift women out of povertyKeren currently works for a new start-up company in America, Piece and Co, which is committed to sustainable approaches to employment that will lift women out of poverty. Keren currently works for a new start-up company in America, Piece and Co, which is committed to sustainable approaches to employment that will lift women out of poverty.

Also, tomorrow, Saturday 28th you can go to the pop-up shop in St. Martin Square, Leicester City Centre, between 11am to 3pm to learn more about Fairtrade.

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Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

 

 

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‘Red Carpet Green Dress’ Oscar Contest

Today’s post is about Fashion. You may not know that there is a relationship between fashion and sustainability. Last Sunday in Los Angeles was the Oscar Award Ceremony celebration with its popular red carpet. The fashion system is getting more and more conscious of being a greener business and one example is the Red Carpet Green Dress of Suzy Amis Cameron.

Suzy Amis Cameron is the wife of James Cameron, the director of blockbusters, such as Titanic and Avatar. Furthermore she is involved in environmental causes, like protecting the planet by rethinking the world of fashion in a more sustainable way.

Inspired by the global red carpet opportunity presented in 2009, when her Husband’s movie Avatar ran for the Best Motion Picture of the Year Oscar Award, she founded an innovative dress design contest called, with a colourful wordplay, Red Carpet Green Dress. The positive fashion campaign sets the challenge for creative designers worldwide to create a red carpet worthy dress, that must fulfil the ‘Green Dress’ criteria, stated in the contest.

Red Carpet Green Dress seeks to reduce textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption in a fully traceable and socially responsible supply chain. There are many factors, such as the renewability and source of a fibre, the process of how a raw fibre is turned into a textile, the working conditions of the people producing the materials, and the material’s total carbon footprint. For the Red Carpet Green Dress contest the winning design must be made from materials which are both environmentally and socially responsible”, said the founder.

The designers submitted their proposal and then the creative designers with the most sustainable dress proposal is the winner. A winner is chosen for a woman’s dress and another, recently introduced, for a men’s tuxedo.

The winners of the sixth annual Red Carpet Green Dress in 2015 competition were announced at the beginning of the month and they came along with the names of the Hollywood actors set to wear the eco-conscious clothing during the Academy Awards night.

The winning dress design was submitted by Manon Gabard, a fashion student, who is specialized in New Couture in Paris and another student, Tingting Chen, whose focus is menswear, submitted the winning smoking design. Both of the winning designers were mentored along the way by Jeff Garner a fashion designer known for working with plant dyes. Gabard’s gown was worn during the Oscars red carpet by Gina Rodriguez and Chen’s tuxedo was worn by Jake McDorman.

For any other information, view the website: http://redcarpetgreendress.com/home/

 

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Jake McDorman & Gina Rodriquez at the 2015 Oscar Red Carpet with their green outfits!

Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Sustainability talks with candidates for DSU President

This Thursday the ongoing Student Union elections at De Montfort University will close. Meanwhile I contacted the candidates for the position of President to ask them their opinions about the commitment to sustainability of the Student Union and a possible greener future of it. I received many feedbacks from the candidates and I want to share these with you.

Amir Mahmood thinks DMU policy with sustainability is excellent, for example the fact that throughout campus there are separate bins for different types of waste. However, he made the point that the current generation has slowly forgotten the importance of recycling and being eco friendly. He would definitely like to see a positive response by the SU and something he would like to see addressed. “We can mirror this policy throughout the SU building and do further events and dedicated days to raise awareness of being an Eco friendly building”.

Samuel Richmond thinks that a lot of these issues can be tackled by ensuring the student halls and student letting agencies provide recycling capabilities on location. “A big part of the green agenda should be cutting down wasted material”. Indeed part of his manifesto is the integration of technology within the university system, that will involve for example pushing recorded lectures negating the need for printing out notes and also handing in course work solely online and not the hard copy.

Tanycia Gayle, the only female candidate for the position of President of the Student Union, believes herself to be a quite green person and she thinks the University and the SU should be as well. She is showed very keen and open to the possibility to work together about these issues.

Adil Waraich, thinks that Student Union could definitely be greener, mostly by doing the little things like recycling paper, turning of lights when the office is shut, on the account of when it comes to being green, the best approach is to do small and consistent acts. “I do believe sustainability and looking after our planet is very important. Sourcing from any companies that act unethically should be avoided”.

I would like to say thank you to the candidates for sharing their thoughts with us and I wish them good luck.
Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

‘Walk the Wall’ Challange

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One month ago we started the ‘Walk the Wall’ challenge, whereby DMU staff were invited to count the steps they took every day for one month and the challenge consisted in together walking the length of the Great Wall in China.

The project was a success in term of participation, over 160 members of staff signed up and tracked their steps for four weeks .To help count the steps we provided them with a customised pedometer with the Green Impact logo to fix at the belt.

The Environmental & Sustainability Officer Karl collected every week the number of steps taken from people involved in the challenge and the result was that they have collectively walked 5,938 miles which is really good and means they have walked further than the Ming Dynasty section of the Great Wall, which is 5,532 miles long.  That’s a total of 13,652,552 steps as part of the Challenge.

This is a great achievement by everyone taking part!

Walking is an easy and healthy activity, which fits perfectly into our everyday routine. So, just make the first step!

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Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Be my fair Valentine

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Every 14th February, the world celebrate the love. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Many of you will show their romantic feelings to whom they love with special gifts and sweets. The most popular gift is chocolate with every possible shapes, colours and tastes. This year you can be even more generous. To show your love to the people you care about and love, you can donate them Fairtrade products, such Fairtrade chocolates and it would be even more valuable!

Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK, represented by the Fairtrade Foundation.                                                                                                                                                                                        When you buy products with the Fairtrade Mark, you support farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities. The Mark means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards.

As you may know, DMU is a Fairtrade University, so you can find Chocolates with Fairtrade mark for tomorrow (and Fairtrade food during the rest of the year as well!) at the University at: Coffee Lab (Fletcher Building and Kimberlin Library) , Cafe Del Marche, Students Union Level 1, Students Union Shop (Campus Centre Building) and Oasis Café (Hugh Aston building).

Also Fairtrade Chocolates and wines can be found at the majority of supermarkets around Leicester and especially at the Just Fair Trade shop at St. Martin Square in Leicester City Centre, where you will find also jewellery and crafts&gifts.

Be loving and fair this Valentine’s Day.

Cheers!

Co-op-Fairtrade-wines

Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Meet the new Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

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Waste not the smallest thing created, for grains of sand make mountains, and atomies infinity. (E. Knight)

I am Fedora, the new Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner. Here at DMU I am an international law Student. At the same time, I am an Erasmus student, the European exchange program between Universities of different countries. I come from Italy, my home city is in the North and it is called Bergamo.

For me, the opportunity to become a Frontrunner is very special, because now I have the chance to face the world of employment and not only the academic environment. I will contribute to develop environmental awareness sustainability events and activities by using Social Networks. I believe a change towards a more sustainable approach to the environment is possible, by starting from the behaviour of the single individual. Therefore it is essential for public institutions, such as DMU University, to encourage people to be more careful about their ecological footprint.

During the employability week on November 2014, I did a volunteering activity with the sustainability team. With some other students, we went to the Leicestershire County Council for an Environmental Audit. The experience was such interesting that I was also involved in the DMU Student Switch Off as ambassador and I became a GIPA (Green Impact Project Assistant).

My commitment to environmental issues is reflected also in what I am studying here at DMU, where I am focusing on environmental law projects. The attention of sustainability and environment protection and awareness is a priority in my life since I was a Scout for over seven years, till now that I would like to specialize in environmental Law and Policy, as part of my University career.

Working as a member of the sustainability team will involve me to cooperate with my colleagues by keeping you update about the amazing activities of the office among DMU and I will also work with Joseph, the Green Impact Front runner to make our University even greener!

As a Frontrunner, I will post regularly on this blog and you are welcome if you want to contribute with your point of view about a sustainable or environmental issue you care about, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Email: fedora.agosti@dmu.ac.uk