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/

‘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/

 

dress       tuxedo

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)

Making a Greener Impact at DMU

This week is our Green Impact Awards Ceremony and for me it’s always one of the highlights of my year. I love it so much because it’s a great opportunity to celebrate real sustainability in action and real change at De Montfort University (DMU).
For those that don’t know, Green Impact is a project led by the NUS which has been running at DMU for the past 4 years. Through the project, teams of staff compete to see who can be the greenest by completing a series of environmental actions contained in an online workbook. Each of the actions in the workbook has allocated points and depending on the number of actions completed and points scored teams are awarded Bronze, Bronze+, Silver or Gold awards.
But Green Impact is so much more than just a staff environmental behaviour change project, which in itself would be pretty awesome. Perhaps Green Impact’s greatest contribution to the sustainability agenda is what it delivers in terms of the student experience, student employability and skills development. Let me explain further:
The participating Green Impact teams complete as many of the online actions as possible and submit their workbook. While the teams are creating greener workspaces through their activities we are recruiting a team of keen and enthusiastic DMU students to train as environmental auditors.
The volunteer auditors receive some top quality auditor training via the NUS on how to conduct environmental audits, what to look for and what evidence the Green Impact teams should be providing. The auditors then audit each of the Green Impact teams to ensure that the environmental actions have been completed to the required standard. The students provide feedback to the teams about how well they have done or if further actions are needed. This information forms the basis for the awards ceremony that takes place this week.
So not only do our student auditors get quality training on conducting environmental audits they also get firsthand experience of how to actually conduct an audit. And judging from the feedback I’ve received they really conduct an audit!
But perhaps more powerful than the skills and the training is the first hand experience of how staff at DMU are working to make the university a greener place. A clear demonstration that the activities of teams is not in any way green-wash; but that there is real dedication and a clear willingness to make DMU a more sustainable organisation. So evident is this dedication amongst the teams that auditors returning after the audits are really rooting for the teams and really want them to reach the award level they aspire to.
For me Green Impact offers so much to the sustainability agenda and this is why I enjoy the awards ceremony so much. This year will be even more special as so many of the student environmental auditors will be joining the Green Impact teams at the award ceremony to celebrate their successes.
And the future for Green Impact is looking good in Leicester and Leicestershire. Both universities in Leicester are taking part in Green Impact; students from the Faculty of Business & Law are working with LOROS through our BusinessWorks programme to deliver Green Impact; and Leicestershire County Council is also taking part in the project this year.
Green Impact offers so much to staff, student and participating organisations all while delivering environmental behaviour change. In short the project is an excellent way of delivering a greener impact at DMU.
Karl Letten
Environmental & Sustainability Officer