Sustainable UCL


UCL Achieves Fairtrade University Award

8 July 2020

UCL and UCL Union, in a joint partnership, have been awarded the Fairtrade University and College Award, following a student-led audit.  

UCL branded jumper with Fairtrade label.

What is the Award?

There are several tiers of accreditation, starting from basic Fairtrade University or College status, through to one, two, and three star awards. The UCL partnership achieved the 1 star status, which is a great achievement considering UCL and UCL Union have not taken part in the scheme since 2012.  

We are one of twelve institutions to have been accredited this year under the new standards of the revised award in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation and National Union of Students.   

The new award structure encourages partnerships between sustainability, catering and academic staff and students, to cover procurement, awareness raising and campaigning activities. UCL’s Sustainable Food Working Group has been integral to coordinating the promotion of Fairtrade items and raising awareness of Fairtrade in our outlets across campus, while UCL’s Green Impact Network has enabled departments to buy Fairtrade office items and put on their own Fairtrade events.   

What has been achieved?

Notable achievements over the last 18 months have included:   

  • UCL & UCL Union have written an updated Fairtrade Policy  to guide our approach to promoting Fairtrade at UCL.
  • Sustainable UCL and Sodexo have worked with the Conservation Society to host a Fairtrade talk at one of their regular mini conferences, where the Fairtrade Foundation spoke about Fairtrade's role in biodiversity and agricultural sustainability.
  • Sustainable UCL hosted monthly Clothes Swap Shops throughout 2019-20, that raised awareness around the detrimental impacts of clothes production on the environment and the social inequalities in the industry. 
  • The UCL Shop now stocks Global Organic Standard (GOTS) and Fairtrade clothing lines.
  • Sodexo, have purchased Fairtrade uniforms for their front of house staff at UCL.
  • Sodexo increased their range of Fairtrade items, including stocking Tony’s Chocolonely, after successful taster events on campus.

How was UCL audited?

In order to confirm the achievements of the partnership, three UCL students were recruited as volunteer auditors, and trained by NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation, equipping them with transferrable skills and experience in conducting an audit.  

What can I do to support Fairtrade?

While we are still in lockdown, you can support Fairtrade by buying Fairtrade items:   

  • Got that hot weather crave for ice cream and lemonade?  
    Well, the Fairtrade Foundation have written a guide to their top 12 summer Fairtrade items. 
  • Buying a gift or something special for yourself?   
    Visit Traidcraft, which sells a wide range of Fairtrade items, from food to clothing and gardening to beauty products. Also see the Fairtrade Foundation’s guide on their top 16 Fairtrade gifts.
  • Doing online grocery shopping?  
    Most supermarkets have a separate Fairtrade section. Out of the major supermarkets,  Sainsbury's stock the widest range of Fairtrade items. 

You can also get involved or support the Fairtrade cause by:   

  • Donating to the Foundation. Visit the Fairtrade Foundation donation webpage to find out more. 
  • Finding out how you can get involved with Fairtrade in your community via the Fairtrade Foundation community webpage. There are thousands of local campaigning groups across the UK, including Towns, Schools, Universities and Faith Groups, so there are lots of ways to get involved.