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:

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:

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.

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:

The Fairtrade organisation has a very transparent approach to how they work. You can check out the pricing information for Fairtrade items here:

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:

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: 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.



Twitter: @JustFairtrade

Stand up for farmers when you sit down for breakfast!


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


Get on top of those small not-so-eco -friendly habits.


Thinking generally, you could probably break your life down into a number of categories, this doesn’t stand the same for everyone, but helps to identify some main groups.

What many don’t realise is that when seeking ease and comfort, expenditure increases dramatically, but can in fact create less comfort in other areas of life. By thinking about how you consume, you cut out the need for relying heavily on others and also pressures in other areas of your life.



Print off as little as possible, back up files and keep them online, this reduces waste and saves time, money and trees.

By using a laptop this will also save more energy than using a desktop computer, however keep it energy efficient with continued maintenance.

Long hours in the library mean food cravings and coffee breaks…keep a flask on hand and think ahead with a packed lunch of Fairtrade treats.


Perhaps factor in some environmental issues, facts and figures into your studies, and spread the message to get everybody else on board. Many don’t realise the implications of long term habits until research is carried out which shows comparative figures, by researching into this, you can teach others to cut carbon footprints with the shock factor.



            Offices chuck out so much waste, from paper, to ink cartridges, to electricity; however, with long term rules and habits set in place, it’s difficult to make change happen. Unfortunately, not everybody will be as environmentally focused as others; however it isn’t too hard do to just a little bit that will make a great difference…

Ensure your office uses recycled paper, and also recycle your paper and other waste. Make sure everyone switches off their computer at the end of the day, even at the wall, install energy efficient lights and use other energy efficient electrical items such as laptops and kettles.


Keeping healthy by getting up and about and cutting down on things like smoking, bad eating habits and generally being a couch potato, will help to put less pressure on your body and on healthcare services.


Many of us have been a bit guilty of slacking off or procrastinating with a hobby that keeps us happy, for instance, playing guitar, drawing or reading a book. If you’re into reading books, perhaps you can donate the ones that you have already read and have no future plans for, and switch to a hi-tech reading method such as using a kindle.

If you like to play guitar or the drums, keep it unplugged and use less electricity.



Go zero waste…reuse, make and mend, recycle, compost and give to others.

There are some really simple ways to cut down on energy usage at home, such as using a colder setting on your washing machine (30 degrees) and doing a large load on a quicker was, unless clothes are really soiled they shouldn’t need any longer than 30 minutes. Refrain from using a tumble dryer by hanging clothes outside or on a rack.


            5 minutes in the shower will use around 25 – 30 litres of water. Keep shower time to a minimum and use a water efficient shower head and instantly save money on water bills.

Ensure your clothes suppliers practice fair trading and equal pay for workers, and buy second hand, pass it down or go to charity shops wherever possible

Get sturdy shoes made from natural materials, which will last a lifetime and when investing make up, make sure it is natural and kind to skin, but also not tested on animals.


We live in a luxury world where we can get our hands on almost anything we want throughout the year even if it isn’t in season, whether that’s strawberries, or coconut. Growing your own vegetables and fruits cuts out the carbon footprint of transporting veg and fruit from other countries and also cutting the costs that you would pay for the product itself if bought from a store. A big plus is knowing that unwanted pesticides usually used on mass grown crops won’t be an issue for your health or the environment.

If you can’t grow your own and have to buy foods in, find a local market which sells locally grown produce and use a handy cotton bag to take it home in. If you have no market nearby try to buy Fairtrade.


Nights Out

On a night out, try a microbrewery, where beer is made on site, this cuts out the need for transporting the beer from other places, microbreweries tend to cut the chemicals too, which means less of a hangover in the morning. (It usually tastes better too)

Gigs, Theatre, Clubbing…

Unless the walk to the strip is an hour away, walking somewhere will always be more energy and cost efficient and will also be better for your health. If you plan to go with a friend, you can share a car or a taxi to get there, or perhaps you could just take a taxi on the way back (when you’re less coherent) and walk to the club on the way there; keep some foldable flats in your bag if you’ve had enough of the heels…

Nights In

Nights in give you the opportunity to choose exactly how your night goes, this means you can choose to have the most enjoyable eco-friendly night possible.

If you’re thinking about sitting down with a glass of wine, make sure it’s from the UK or France and is boxed in cardboard; not so classy, but you can fool people by decanting the wine. This chops a large amount off of the carbon footprint, by cutting out airtime.

Get your hands on a growler (reusable beer bottles) and fill them up at a local bar or shop, this way you cut out the packaging process and use of extra unnecessary materials.


Choose to go to a festival that is environmentally conscious this year, make sure you pack waste bags, make good use of the recycling spots and take all of your stuff home with you.

My experience as the first Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

I remember that day. After class I decided to go towards the Campus Centre instead of going back home immediately. There was the sun and it was still warm outside. It was late October. So, I went to the Campus Centre and passing by I noticed a colourful stand. I read ’Green Impact’ and Karl introduced himself as the environmental officer. He started to explain to me what was the project and proposed that I should join them for an environmental auditing the next week. That experience was very interesting and I didn’t think such activities were organised and proposed by a University! Afterward I was even more committed to apply for the position as Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner at their office. When that hope came true, I couldn’t believe it!

Today is my last day in the office and I realize how many things happened since my arrival. There was the auditing at Leicestershire County Council, the training as a Green Impact Project Assistant, visiting the Halls of Residence with Fran and Joseph for Students Switch Off, the Fairtrade Fortnight with lots of activities, the Climate Positive Week with interesting talks and lunches, then the designing and planting activity for one of the Excellence project within Green Impact and eventually the organization of the Green Impact Award Ceremony to celebrate the efforts of everyone!

The placement lasted five months and it was quite a challenge to match work, study, classes and social activities, but it improved my timing and organizational skills.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work in an office for the first time and the chance to understand that it was the kind of job I would like to do as part of my future career. Everyone in the office and in the department helped me when I needed support. I think I developed some new important skills thanks to this experience. Indeed, I feel the Frontrunner scheme is a good investment for DMU students and it requests the appropriate commitment and time while studying. Finally, I truly believe that the University can play a key role in teaching more about sustainability and that this knowledge will be embedded by students for the rest of their lives.


Student volunteer Denise and I during the Green Impact Award Ceremony

me and d


Student volunteer Vanessa and I during the team building eco-bingo activity



Joseph and I



Thank you everyone!

Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change 2015)

Student Switch Off, time for fun!


Last week was a great one for Student Switch Off here at DMU.

But first things first, what is it?

When I first arrived at my accommodation, New Wharf Hall, I noticed a big colourful poster on the board of our Kitchen. There was written something about a competition between all the Halls of Residence and there were funny pictures too. I was very curious, so I taped the link on my laptop and I found the DMU Student Switch Off Facebook page.

There I discovered that it was an energy saving competition between halls of residence. That means if by the end of the year a DMU hall has saved more energy per person than the others, the whole hall is going to win a big give away of Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream!

photo 4 (2)

Also, if you live in a DMU hall, after liking the page, you are able to enter the weekly photo competitions. They usually involve posting pictures on the page about a specific topic, like doing the washing at 30 degrees, putting a lid on the pan or switching the light off while you are leaving your room. Of course the first who post the photos can win vouchers for large tubes of Ben & Jerry’s or other goods such as Cinema Tickets.

To promote the page and eco-friendly behaviour, the NUS run a training event for students willing to be Student Switch Off Ambassadors to help others students to understand the importance of little changes in our every-day life for the environment and to reduce the University’s carbon footprint.

As a SSO Ambassador, I went to some Halls visits to promote the competition with Fran from NUS and all the times, students were keen to know more about the initiative and positive about the possibility of a victory!

The Student Switch Off is a good way to raise awareness about reducing energy consumption and avoiding waste precious resources.

So, last Tuesday at DMU took place the Ben & Jerry’s party open to all the students from the winning Hall, The Grange. There was a lot of Raspberry Chocolatey Chunk Greek Style Frozen Yogurt. Yummy and, of course Fairtrade!


Also, later on the week, it took place a Focus Group about SSO. A group of eight students, Professor Richard Bull and the Environment &Sustainability Officer Karl Letten discussed the project, its effectiveness and the idea of a new Dashboard to track easily if your accommodation is leading or not in that energy saving competition. That informal chat was very interesting. Everyone shared ideas, suggestions and a lot of enthusiasm. The Focus Group reveals that when students are involved in something positive, important and they can feel responsible for the common good, such a healthier life with less carbon, well, it works!


Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)




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

photo (3)

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.


Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)