La Trobe becomes Fair Trade

Victoria’s La Trobe University will be recognised today for its significant commitment to Fairtrade with the awarding of Fair Trade University status by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ).

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The presentation will make 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 Fair Trade 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 famers, 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 Fair Trade Fortnight 2010 (1-16 May), which this year will focus on the theme of “The Big Swap”.

“La Trobe University’s overarching commitment to implementing responsible procurement, which includes support of Fairtrade products, means Fairtrade Certified products are now available across campus.  This combined with its general support and promotion of Fair Trade has qualified it to be awarded Fair Trade University status as part of the FTAANZ’s broader Fair Trade Communities Initiative,” he said.    

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," Professor Johnson said.

“Our decision to actively support Fair Trade means that Fairtrade Certified coffee, tea and chocolate will be sold at on-campus retail outlets at the Bundoora, Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses,” he added.

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

“This is just the start our ongoing relationship with La Trobe to promote Fair Trade 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 Fair Trade 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 will be awarded their certificate of Fair Trade University status at a special ceremony held at its Bundoora campus today (Wednesday, 10 March).

For more information please contact:

La Trobe University

James Ayers

T: 9479 1187

Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand

Laura Wise

M: 0431 452 274