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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The Results of This Year’s Green Impact at DMU

This year, our Green Impact scheme at DMU has been outstanding! And like each year before, Sustainable DMU enjoys celebrating the accomplishments of staff and students who have been involved, by hosting an awards Ceremony for those involved. Please follow the link to find out more information about the scheme.  http://sustainability.nus.org.uk/green-impact

The ceremony is an opportunity to recognise the accomplishments of both staff members and students who have participated in the Green Impact project. This year the teams have completed 700 environmental actions including actions on waste reduction, recycling, saving energy reducing carbon emissions and engaging with other staff members in their directorate and faculty. Nearly 5000 actions have been completed over the course of the 7 years that De Montfort University have been involved in the scheme.

The NUS Green Impact scheme allows staff and students to use an online workbook, which has a range of environmental actions which combined will significantly help to reduce carbon footprints on campus; these range from fairly easy actions, to much larger and slightly more difficult actions. Those who have been involved with the scheme for a number of years will be able to progress towards a higher level of achievement, having completed the other easier tasks in previous years, whilst those who have just joined will complete easier actions.

The scheme helps to break down boundaries and to build staff and student relations as staff notably appreciates the input that the students have had in aiding with their progress. It also offers students the opportunity to build their personal portfolios, with an Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) accredited environmental auditing scheme, whilst staff are able to prove that they can actively adapt to change and are contributing to a more sustainable future at DMU.

On the day the ceremony was hosted by Environmental and Sustainability Officer Karl Letten, Green Impact Frontrunner Sebastian Schellerer and Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner Rebecca Mason in the Trinity Chapel. The room was packed full of excited guests ready to receive a well-deserved award handed over by guest, Professor Paul Fleming from the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) in the Faculty of Technology.

The ceremony began at 12pm and ran until 1pm beginning with a short discussion from Karl Letten about the Green Impact scheme and the work that has been achieved so far; this focused mainly on the past year and was followed by a speech from NUS representative, Rachel Soper, as well as thanks and praise to the teams and to Karl from both Frontrunners, Sebastian and Rebecca.

After introductions and thanks, it was time stuck into handing out the awards!

The awards handed out were as follows:

Bronze

FOTAC

QEII Leisure Centre

Silver

4th Floor Flyers

Strategic and International Partnerships

Gold

Learning Support Centre

ITMS

Green POD

Excellence

Estates Development

Estates Services

Student and Academic Services

Finance Greens

Executive, Governance and Legal Services

Special Awards

ITMS – Innovation

Green POD – Engagement

ITMS – Community

Learning Support Centre – Most Improved Team

QEII Leisure Centre – Best New Team

Environmental Hero’s

Student – Cybeles Nunziata

Student – Sara Williams

Student – Wing Tang

Staff – Amanda Thorley

Project Assistants

Sara Williams

Quinn Franklin

Nizam Patel

Cybeles Nunziata

Environmental Auditors

Richa Singhal

Sara Williams

Quinn Franklin

Gaza Nathaniel

Cybeles Nunziata

Special Projects for the Excellence Awards

Green Impact team who have previously gained the Gold standard award have the opportunity to undertake a special project on an environmental topic of their choosing. These special projects are awarded with an Excellence standard.

The first project was run by  Student Academic Services, Estates Development and Estates Services, who organised and ran two biodiversity projects including bulb planting on the grass area in front of the Edith Murphy building and outside of the Kimberlin Library. The bulb planting element used bulbs which produce flowers rich in nectar which is ideal for bees when they come out of hibernation. The second element of the project was a bat box making workshops which included background information on bat ecology from Conservation Officer Nathalie Cossa who is fluent in all things bats from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Nathalie presented on the lives of bats, how they are going extinct and how we can help them out.

The second project was run by the Finance Team who worked towards reducing paper use and recycling by cleaning out their archives and moving some forms to electronic formats so they would not need to print them off; they also ran iPad training sessions for senior management. Through their efforts the team managed to recycle over 210 bags of paper which is a tremendous achievement.

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The third was run by Trinity House and is an ongoing project focused around biodiversity in the gardens that is looking into the possibility of having beehives on campus. The project is currently in the process of bringing in a local ecologist to come and give advice on the project.

Our top performer this year was the ITMS team, winning four separate awards

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Whilst our environmental heroes shone with their awards…

We were excited to welcome the Queen Elizabeth II Leisure Centre as our best newcomer.

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All award winners received a goody bag handmade from recycled newspaper which included a bicycle seat cover, a recycled drinks bottle, a Divine Fairtrade chocolate bar, a pedometer and instructions on how to make your own paper bag.

DMU-green impact 2016-4143.jpg

You can download this template to make your own recycled newspaper (or paper) bag here… http://www.noteworthy.com/templates/paper_bags 

Special thanks go out to the Estates Maintenance Services gardening team, who spent a lot of their time assisting with projects and by providing materials to do so.

Each year involvement with the Green Impact scheme advances; next year we expect the amount of teams to grow and produce some brilliant projects and subsequent results! All those at DMU are welcome to join in and we appreciate any level of involvement.

If you would like to get involved with the Green Impact scheme next year, please get in touch with Karl Letten, Environmental and Sustainability Officer (kletten@dmu.ac.uk).

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Rebecca Mason, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

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/

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)

Green Impact spreads across Leicester with De Montfort University

This year, Leicester is home to three growing Green Impact programmes, both on and off campus, and has got the academic year off to a flying start by hosting a massive training event for students to build skills and experience right across the city.

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De Montfort University (DMU) has been running Green Impact for the past 4 years, and this year is launching its Excellence programme for Gold winning team. This hopes to link enthused and committed teams of staff up within their other sustainability initiatives across the university, as well as inspire other teams as to what they can achieve.

And they are now proving to be a veritable epicentre of Green Impact activity across the city!

Loros (Leicestershire and Rutland Hospice), came on board with a pilot of Green Impact in their main hospice building and charity shop warehouse last year. Following a private consultancy in 2011, they knew that in order to reduce their overheads to increase funds available for vital patient care and comfort, and to decrease the negative environmental impact, they needed to engage their own staff in a behaviour change campaign. They approached the university, and a partnership was born.

The business school was setting up its first cohort of business student placements in community organisations ‘Business Works’, and Loros fitted in perfectly. We created a workbook bespoke to this very unique setting, and by Christmas last year we have 10 students leading the programme in the hospice, supporting teams and coordinating their efforts across the organisation. Engaging 5 teams in the project in its first year, the skills and experience the students gained and the momentum that has started to build at Loros have been really influential.

And for Leicestershire County Council, 2013 sees them running their own Green Impact programme for the first time, becoming one of our four local authorities taking part across the UK. They have worked tirelessly this year to get the project embedded across the whole council, resulting in 24 teams submitting workbooks in August and September, from teams based in County Hall at Glenfield to local community libraries and teams based in other areas of the county.

And so, last week saw an exciting event, the size of which we haven’t seen previously in the history of DMU’s Green Impact journey. Gathering students from across the campus, we trained 46 students to become Green Impact Project Assistants for the University, to help us lead Green Impact at Loros through the Business Works placement scheme, and to sign up to be the first student environmental auditors for Leicestershire County Council.

The DMU programme launched last week so we are now partnering up Project Assistants with their staff teams and getting them started as new teams themselves.

Loros is launching their programme on the 31st, with the Business Works placement students coming to the Hospice for the first time to help them to get started and build their team numbers from last year’s 5 and to really establish the programme into the heart of the organisation.

And Leicestershire County Council was be visited by 16 keen students on the 5th November, who spent a morning attending our IEMA approved training workshop and an afternoon conducting practical audits across the council – a brilliant experience for students to see first-hand how such a large organisation is trying to reduce its negative environmental impacts.

Karl Letten, Environmental & Sustainability Officer at DMU, says “this year is particularly exciting with opportunities for students to be environmental auditors at Leicestershire County Council as well as auditing teams at DMU. The university’s community focus is also supported with Green Impact by the work of our Business Works program whereby our Business and Law students are supporting local charity LOROS to implement Green Impact. This year is shaping up to be the best Green Impact year yet at DMU!”

If you would like to know more about Green Impact contact Jo Kemp, Green Impact Programme Manager, jo.kemp@nus.org.uk

Blog post written by: Jo Kemp, Green Impact Programme Manager, National Union of Students