La Trobe becomes Fairtrade (Issue 28, 2010)

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Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson and Mr Cameron Neil, FTAANZ Manager

La Trobe University was recognised this month for its significant commitment to Fairtrade with the awarding of Fairtrade University status by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ).

The presentation made La Trobe the third Australian university to have been awarded such status - joining an ever growing number of councils, workplaces, schools and faith groups across the country who have signed up to help ensure a brighter future for developing countries’ producers, through the better deal and improved terms of trade that Fairtrade provides.

FTAANZ Operations Manager Cameron Neil said there were more than 300 fairtrade communities in Australia reflecting the growing awareness within the Australian community, of the life-changing difference that choosing Fairtrade makes.

‘Like hundreds of other organisations and businesses across the country, La Trobe University understands that simply swapping the tearoom supplies you use or the coffee sold on campus can in fact provide a big difference to the lives of Fairtrade farmers, their families and communities around the world,’ he said.

‘Not only does Fairtrade provide them with the stability and security of fair prices but also the ability to invest and develop their businesses and communities – whether it be through training for workers, building roads or access to education and healthcare for their children.

Mr Neil said La Trobe’s support for Fairtrade provided a great example to Australians of how easy making the change can be, especially in the lead up to Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 (1-16 May), which this year will focus on the theme ‘The Big Swap’.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said the decision by the FTAANZ underscores La Trobe’s growing sense of corporate responsibility.  

‘We are introducing Fairtrade Certified products at La Trobe because we believe it is the right thing to do. Our decision to actively support Fairtrade means that Fairtrade Certified coffee, tea and chocolate will be sold at on-campus retail outlets at the Bundoora, Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses,’ Professor Johnson said.

Mr Neil said FTAANZ acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the students and staff at La Trobe who have championed the Fairtrade cause and enabled the University to meet the requirements needed to be awarded Fairtrade University status.

‘This is just the start of our ongoing relationship with La Trobe to promote Fairtrade and educate students, staff and the University’s local communities about the real impact the simple switch to buying Fairtrade Certified products can have,’ Mr Neil said.

Mr Neil said that with La Trobe joining RMIT and Macquarie Universities in Fairtrade University status, the benchmark had been set for other institutions around the country to follow suit and make the swap to Fairtrade.

La Trobe University has been awarded its certificate of Fairtrade University status at a special ceremony held at the Bundoora campus on Wednesday, 10 March.