De Montfort University retains its’ Fairtrade University status!

De Montfort University became a Fairtrade University in March of 2010 and has now been a Fairtrade University for 6 years. In order to become a Fairtrade University the student union and the university had to achieve 5 goals. You can read the goals by following this link: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/about-dmu-documents/dmu-estate/environmental/fairtradepolicydmu2.pdf

Being a Fairtrade University ultimately means that staff and students who purchase products on site are contributing to and supporting the Fairtrade movement led and co-ordinated by the Fairtrade Foundation.

The university sells a large number of Fairtrade products in shops on campus and uses Fairtrade ingredients in all food made on site; all the sugar that is used on campus for baking is Fairtrade sugar, and the coffee sold on level 1 of the campus centre is puro Fairtrade coffee. You can find these Fairtrade products sold around campus at the following sites…

  • Coffee Lab– Fletcher Building and Kimberlin Library
  • Cafe Del Marche– Campus Centre Building
  • Students Union Level 1 –Campus Centre Building
  • Students Union Shop– Campus Centre Building
  • Oasis Café– Hugh Aston building

In order to show that De Montfort University is continuing to promote Fairtrade and continues to meet the 5 goals of being a Fairtrade University, the university must submit information to the Fairtrade Foundation to evidence how it is doing this.

The university has recently renewed its’ Fairtrade Status, and have just recently been re-accredited by the Fairtrade Foundation as a Fairtrade University! The university will therefore continue to support the improvement of the standards of workers around the world by using Fairtrade ingredients and raising awareness for the cause!

What Is Fairtrade?

‘There are over 1.4 million farmers and workers in 1,140 producer organisations across the Fairtrade system’ Fairtrade Foundation

Fairtrade is simply, fair trading. The Fairtrade Foundation, the organisation behind the Fairtrade Mark, focuses on social, economic and environmental development and aims to ensure growth in countries which supply Fairtrade produce and ensures that farmers are paid fairly for their work and have more control over their own lives.

The organisation was established in 1992 by CAFOD and has been going for 22 years now.

Fairtrade also works with other partner organisations to license the use of the Fairtrade mark; this mark shows that the product complies with Fairtrade standards. The basic Fairtrade key objectives of the standards are:

  • ensure that producers receive prices that cover their average costs of sustainable production;
  • provide an additional Fairtrade Premium which can be invested in projects that enhance social, economic and environmental development;
  • enable pre-financing for producers who require it;
  • facilitate long-term trading partnerships and enable greater producer control over the trading process;
  • set clear core and development criteria to ensure that the conditions of production and trade of all Fairtrade certified products are socially, economically fair and environmentally responsible.

You can find more information about Fairtrade standards by following this link: http://www.fairtrade.net/standards.html

The partners working with Fairtrade have links in the same pool but also do a lot of other great work separate to the organisation, below are just a number of the partner organisations

CAFODChristian AidOxfam,TraidcraftGlobal Justice Now, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Banana Link.

http://www.fairtrade.net/about-fairtrade/our-partners/our-strategic-partners.html

Why is Fairtrade important

The work that the Fairtrade Foundation does puts power in the hands of people, helping to give farmers the ability to sustain themselves and their families and have food security.

If you see the Fairtrade mark, as shown above, this means it has been sourced from small scale farmers and plantations that meet the Fairtrade standards

‘The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Find out where to buy Fairtrade products by clicking here: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/buying-fairtrade

The Fairtrade organisation has a very transparent approach to how they work. You can check out the pricing information for Fairtrade items here: http://www.fairtrade.net/standards/price-and-premium-info.html

Leicester is a Fairtrade City!

Leicester became the second Fairtrade city in Britain in 2002; a 5 year manifesto was put together to ensure standards are kept up. You can check out Leicester City’s 5 year manifesto here: https://thelivinglabiesd.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/leicester_fairtrade_5year_manifesto.pdf

The main aim was to ensure food that comes in to the city is of good standards.

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight is a campaign that runs over the course of 2 weeks annually, this 2016 it ran from the 29th February until the 13th March and engages communities and groups with the Fairtrade movement.

Although the fortnight lasts only 2 weeks, it is still important to give thought to those who produced the food that we buy and eat.

Martin Luther King famously said ‘Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world’.

Just Fairtrade

Just Fairtrade is a shop in Leicester city centre; it was originally set up by Sarah and ran as a pop up shop for 5 years until they eventually moved into a rented facility to become a permanent business. Just Fairtrade has since been up and running for 15 years and will be celebrating 20 years as an organisation in the coming year!

The shop are predominantly made up of volunteers, with only 2 or 3 people being paid a full wage, and the main organiser Sarah, working full time as a volunteer. (You can find more information about the team here: http://justfairtrade.com/what-we-do/the-team/) The main driving force for the business is not the income, but in fact raising awareness about Fairtrade, in turn Just do lots of work with schools to help raise awareness amongst young people.

The items sold at the Just store are shipped in by a family business based in Market Harborough. The majority of materials sold are from southern countries such as India and Africa.

Alongside raising awareness here, Just also do a lot of work with communities in the countries where the products are made, to teach about how to sell in countries like England and the British consumer buying needs and habits, this helps the communities to create items which can be properly directed towards their target audiences.

Many of the items sold at the shop exist as a one off, so if you find you come across something that you like, snatch up the opportunity to make it yours before someone else does, as it may not come into stock again!

Just have numerous events going on throughout the year that are open to all; during the Fairtrade Fortnight, they hosted an Olive farmer named Mohammed Hamada who spoke about his experience of fair trade in Palestine.

People of all ages who are seeking experience/ voluntary work, can get in touch with Just Fairtrade who will be happy to have the help and to help you!

See their website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Website: justfairtrade.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/justfairtrade

Twitter: @JustFairtrade

Stand up for farmers when you sit down for breakfast!

 

Rebecca Mason, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner at De Montfort University.

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Are Forest Green Rovers FC the greenest football club in the world?

If you are a football fan, this could be the reason to go green this summer.

Forest Green Rovers Football Club (FGR FC) are one of a small handful of football clubs which are actively trying to reform the image of their club by adapting their approach sustainability.

Bayern Munich of Bavaria, Germany have long followed some eco standards, using the same technology as the Forest Green Rovers for their pitch, but the Forest Green Rovers have taken it to a new level and have since become internationally renowned for their efforts.

Changes began in 2010 when Dale Vince became the major shareholder in the club; having surely caught the eco bug, the club has since achieved 7 huge environmental actions, and are currently planning to complete 7 more. Efforts include the use of an automatic lawn mowing ‘Mobot’ from Tesla, photo voltaic solar panels, irrigation systems and rainwater harvesting, enabling them to soon be independent from the water mains.

The club have also attracted a lot of attention by taking red meat off of the menu; this quickly followed by going completely meat free, also helping to adjust attitudes of the footballers by presenting a path to achieving a healthier lifestyle inside and outside the walls of the club. Defender Aarran Racine claims “it is a bit of a shock to some, but you get used to it – I have done anyway, I like it”.

In 2012 the Forest Green Rovers achieved the gold standard for environmental performance from the Eco-Management and Audit-Scheme (EMAS) which of course struck the need to adapt the colour of the kit to their green image…rightly so!

FGR.pngPicture taken from website.

Dale Vince, founder of ‘ecotricity’ and the electric highways, is the master mind behind all of this eco action; Vince hopes that by spreading the eco message within the football world, it will enhance the clubs’ reputation and influence others to go green.

In hopes to impact the local economy, Vince has had each member of the squad driving a Nissan leaf with the FC’s logo to raise awareness about the club and their cause and has extended a helping hand to support other green gannets by installing an on-site charging point for electric and hybrid cars, ensuring fans are able to drive and park at the club without worrying about running out of charge.

The future for Forest Green Rovers, is also looking a bright shade of green, with plans in place to build an eco-venue similar to that of their ‘Green Britain Centre’ in Norfolk and if the team win against Bristol Rovers, Vince wants the team to go vegan, he claims that as the club claims more victories, the team will attract further attention thus increasing their duty of care.

As the club opens its gates to the local public for learning purposes, Vince hopes that the linked efforts of the club and the footballers will entice younger visitors, from schools to be inspired by and follow the footsteps of local stars and role models.

See their full environmental mission: https://www.forestgreenroversfc.com/about-forest-green-rovers/ecotricity-and-forest-green-rovers/greening-up-football

Sports teams are only just adjusting to the changes in the environment, however systems are being put in place to support this shift; Sport England have even dedicate part of their website to enabling clubs to calculate their carbon footprints! Check it out: http://www.sustainableclubs.co.uk/energy-calculator/

It’s great to see sports clubs taking initiative to create a positive impact, and is a giant step towards a greener future.

Written by Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner – Rebecca Mason

Collectively.org campaign for Switch to 100% Renewable Energy

Collectively.org is a platform for young people to engage with sustainability issues, due to the COP21 conferences they feel it is a perfect time to empower the switch to 100% renewable energy by demonstrating “The power of collection by driving the shift to a clean energy future.”   https://collectively.org/en/article/obama-clean-power-plan/    #go100percent.

‘Collectively’ brings together people “from around the world and organisations from across sectors” and claims that “we can together make faster progress towards a future we all want to live in” Some big influences involved are Facebook , Twitter and Unilever, whose aim is to become ‘carbon positive’ in their operations ‘by 2030’; others include Google and Yahoo; even Obama is getting on board, and you check out his Clean Power Plan here: https://collectively.org/en/article/obama-clean-power-plan/

Collectively aims to get students involved in these campaigns by encouraging individuals to engage with their universities as advocates for change towards the way in which their institutes use energy, and hope that this will eventually lead to a 100% switch to renewable energy.

“Individually, millennials feel powerless and cynical about their voices being heard”; however with the help of large, game-changing organisations that are constantly in the public eye, individuals can feel that their voice has more punch than they may have thought which in turn can enable change.

Keep up with their latest news on their website: https://collectively.org/en/

You can also check out their campaign video here: https://www.facebook.com/collectively/videos/483943298451517/?l=6536826894074607595 and get involved by clicking the following link to show your support for Clean Power: https://collectively.org/wegotpower/

Earth Day 2015

EarthDay2015-Poster

Last Wednesday was Earth Day 2015. It was the occasion for the world to celebrate our planet and ask for an action on its behalf.

The first Earth Day was in April 22, 1970. It activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Nowadays, the Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 50,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

All of EDN’s activities, whether greening schools or promoting green economic policies at home and abroad, inform and energize populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children. With its partner organizations, EDN provides civic engagement opportunities at the local, state, national and global levels.

So, every year on 22 April the people of the world celebrate the Earth with a lot of initiatives and programms to raise awarness on those issues.

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Today, I want simply to share with you a video from the rapper Prince Ea. The video is called “Sorry”. It was released on Earth day 2015 and it regards climate change and how we can do about it.

The video uses simple words to deliver a strong message and it really worths watching it.

Here you have the link tothe video:

 

Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Why the UK should be leading on climate change

There have been some worrying comments recently in the media regarding the UK’s position as a leader in the efforts to prevent climate change. The most prominent of these has come from the Chancellor George Osborne who has stated that the UK should not be at the forefront of these efforts.

These comments are completely misguided on a number of fronts. Firstly, the comments come shortly after the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) latest Fifth Assessment Report which was clearer than ever that climate change is happening and that human interventions is the major contribution to the changing climate.

Secondly, our efforts to reduce climate change are also good for our economy. Recently published figures from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills showed that whilst the majority of the economy remained flat the green sector grew by nearly 5%. The report published in July 2013 showed that UK sales from the Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) sector was £128.1bn in 2011/12. This compares with Sales in 2010/11 of £122.2bn and shows an annual increase of £5.9bn, which is approximately 4.8%. Furthermore the report shows that the LCEGS sector employs over 900,000 people.

And if these aren’t reasons enough to be at the forefront of preventing climate change there is also the moral imperative. Climate change will impact greatest on some of the poorest communities across the world and we have an obligation to ensure that the impacts of climate change are reduced as far as possible. Additionally our historical emissions have contributed to climate change to a greater extent than most nations. The data for 1850 to 2002 shows that the UK has been one of the highest historical emitters of greenhouse gases and as such we should be leading in reducing these emissions.

Addressing climate change is good for our economy and our standing as a world leader. Continuing in this role can only provide further benefits to us and others across the world.

As always we would welcome your thoughts on this post and recent comments regarding UK’s role as a leader on climate change.