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.


Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day was born out of the Environmental movement that began in the 1970’s;  and the celebration is now in it’s the 46th year and is growing with each passing celebration.

The movement began as a reaction to a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara which shook the world. Before this movement, thinking about the consequences that our actions might have on the environment was not commonplace. As we continued to guzzle fuel and consume at our own conveniences, this has unfortunately, over time resulted in serious consequences.

Scientists around the world have been carrying out research to get to grips with the weight of the issue and the problems we face; their research has provided devastating outcomes, proving the huge impact long term actions have led to.

Our mass consumption and need for materials has depleted forests and land; due to tree felling and commercial/ residential building, resulting in the displacement, extinction and endangering of thousands of species of animals around the world. Our unabated use of fossil fuels has also created a ‘greenhouse effect’, brought about by the build-up of gases such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) at an unmanageable rate, subsequently leading to Global Warming and the accelerated rise in sea levels.

Although this information arose years ago, our reactions have been slow; it has only been in recent years that we have seen change in our thoughts towards the environmental issues. Last year the Paris Climate Summit marked a step towards change for many, but is it really enough…? In order to make change happen nationally and worldwide, we must tackle these issues on a personal, community based and local level.

Today, many around the world are getting stuck in to do their bit to help their environments and raise awareness. You can find out where this is happening closest to you, and get involved by clicking here.

If you’re in Leicester, you can do your bit by joining Leicester’s annual earth day clean-up, on April 24th from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. where they will be meeting at the Town common to get stuck in!

We’ve compiled a list of 10 top tips for you to do to keep your carbon footprint at an all time low and become part of the growing movement!

  1. Leave lights off
  2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
  3. Donate to charity
  4. Shop Fairtrade, local, seasonal, organic and unpackaged
  5. Go meat free
  6. Re use your shopping bags
  7. Donate to charity
  8. Walk/ bike to work
  9. Make sure your coffee is Fairtrade or part of the rainforest alliance and use a reusable cup
  10. Keep electricals off and unplugged, but if you must stay online, go paperless

Remember these tips can be used everyday, long term! If you are looking for more information about how to keep your carbon footprint low, FOR GOOD, check out this great website

On the lookout for Eco-Friendly Gadgets in the New Bond film, Spectre!

Some of you may already be aware that today is the release of the new Bond film ‘Spectre’! Here at Sustainable DMU we are excited to see what gadgets Mr. Bond will be sporting, but something we’re keeping a look out for is how they’re powered and how he uses them, considering his history with his new toys we’d like to see a bit more reuse or recycling!

If you’re looking for some of your own checkout some of these gadgets from the ethical superstore:  these are a bit pricey, however ,so if you feel like getting crafty you can learn how to make your own here:

Of course we’re all guilty for getting our 5 second fix and then getting bored with something at some point in our lives, below you can find some other uses for household items (not quite 007 but still nifty)

Get geared up like Bond and show us your best 007 pose using either household items for other stuff, your latest eco gadgets or the upcycled gadgets you made earlier. Post up your pictures to our Facebook or Twitter pages. Links to the right of the page.

If you feel like you want to learn from some of the big dogs, on Saturday 31st October Leicester Footpaths will be hosting a brilliant Make and Mend Festival ( at The Friends Meeting house near Clarendon Park where you can get your broken items such as laptops, phones, watches etc. fixed, make furniture out of pallets, learn how to upcycle old clothes and much more.

My bike and I

Exams period is about to end and it is time for some students to go back to their home.

This means a lot of things, such as saying goodbye to all the people you have met during last months, your flatmates, your accommodation, the library and for someone is a real goodbye to Leicester, because if you are a third year student or an international student, then you won’t be back at DMU next September.

One day I saw a post on Facebook where my friend Lise was selling her beloved bike to someone who will be in Leicester next year. I know that for her that bike was extremely important, so I asked to write how much it actually was.

So, I am happy to share her feeling in this short tale.

My bike and I.

This story begins when I arrived in a city far too big for me. Everything was different from where I grew up. I was not afraid, but I needed to take my time to adapt to this new environment. I was curious to discover the city centre, to know each quarter and to visit the countryside surrounding it. But every good adventure is fulfilled with good a companion. And I knew what it would have been. So I looked for it on Gumtree and when I saw its pictures I knew right at the moment that it was the one that I needed. Its shape, its colours… we were made to ride together. When it arrived at home at the end of a sunny day I rode it until the sun went down. And that is how I tamed the city and its surroundings. I went up and down, further, faster with my trustful machine. Rain, wind or even snow, nothing could stop us. By day or night. We were free. Free from the traffic, my legs were the only carburant it needed. As quiet as a mouse, we were flying along the canal. But every story has an end and ours takes place where it began. I’ve just post an ad on internet. This is farewell time and time to find a new owner.

Lise’s inspiring story tells us that is never too late to learn to ride, because your bike will be a perfect buddy for life!


Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Renewing Leicester Energy

Being a University committed to sustainability means, among other things, supporting low carbon emission measures through the use of renewable energy. DMU Campus is based in the city of Leicester, which is committed in turn to these issues.

In fact, to scale the progress made in this field, an interesting project was carried out by the City Council.

Three interactive maps have been created by the Environmental team of the Leicester City Council to display renewable energy and low carbon technology and how they have been employed across the city of Leicester

The website includes three different interactive maps. The maps cover three different topics: Renewable Technology, Low Carbon Technology and Low Carbon Technology 2.

According to which layer you select, the renewable technology map shows: the major planning applications which generate renewable energy in orange, Leicester City Council renewables in green and domestic renewables in the blue shaded areas.


The Low Carbon Technology map shows: the district heating network in red (District Heating (DH) Main Pipes and DH Buildings), cavity wall insulated council homes in blue and external wall insulated council homes in green.


The Low Carbon Technology 2 map shows: LED street lighting in orange, Green roofs in green and Houses built to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 in blue.


The initiative enables individuals to discover the improvement for a low carbon Leicester. Also, it aims to encourage a future implementation of green technologies in the city, where DMU Campus is in the middle of it. A greener city will directly benefit the University. Also, it could be the starting point to link them together for a joint effort.

Indeed at DMU there is a focus on the implementation of renewable energy to cut the University’s carbon footprint and, of course, also the costs of energy consumption. Some examples are: a biomass boiler, ground source heat pumps, an air source heat pump, solar thermal panels and rainwater harvesting.

Let’s go through these tools to create renewable energy, according to where they are disposed within the Campus.

In John Whitehead Building, the heating is mostly supplied from a biomass boiler, which is fed with high quality wood pellets derived from sawmill waste wood. It provides low carbon heat.


In Hugh Aston Building, the underfloor heating and some of the hot water is supplied by four ground source heat pumps. There is a network of 60 boreholes, each 100 metres deep, in the ground underneath the building’s courtyard. The temperature of the ground at that depth is relatively constant throughout the year, warmer than ambient air temperatures during winter and cooler than ambient air temperatures during summer. Using the reverse-cycle heat pump, it is possible to exploit this temperature difference to provide low carbon heating and hot water in winter, and low carbon cooling in summer. The Hugh Aston Building also benefits from low carbon hot water, which is generated by two roof-mounted solar panels. Furthermore, at Hugh Aston there is rainwater harvesting. Here, rainwater is collected in an underground tank, from where it is pumped around the building to flush toilets. This system reduces the amount of fresh water used and the energy required to pump the fresh water to Hugh Aston.

The new Leisure Centre requires a lot of hot water throughout the year for the showers and to keep the swimming pool at a comfortable temperature. An air source heat pump was installed to help meet this demand.


Moreover, during summer 2013 the University has undertaken four installations of photovoltaic panels on its buildings: two in Hugh Aston, one in Edith Murphy and another at Gateway House. Between them it is estimated that these four installations will generate 96,128kWh of electricity per year. According to the average household uses of electricity per year this means that it will be generating enough electricity to supply over 29 homes. From a campus perspective this amount of energy easily offsets the amount of electricity consumed by Trinity House in a year.


Last but not least, there are some energy saving projects, such as a cover for the swimming pool. This reduces DMU’s gas consumption, by reducing the heat lost from the swimming pool water when the pool is not in use. Another example is the installation of LED lighting, which typically uses approximately 50% of the electricity required by conventional fluorescent lighting. The buildings involved in this project are: Kimberlin Library, Bede Halls of Residence, Estates Services Building, Hawthorn and Portland buildings.

Also, at DMU there are little electric vans!

electric van

The University’s efforts to be more and more eco-friendly should be seen as a wider effort for the University’s commitment to the public good. Cutting CO2 emissions with initiatives by the City Council and private citizens will benefit the overall air quality of Leicester. In turn, cutting CO2 levels through renewable energy at DMU will benefit the University and Leicester as well.


Useful websites: