Green Impact and Fairtrade Fortnight

In March 2016 Westminster Business School was home to two important sustainability events where students and staff gathered together to celebrate #FairtradeFortnight. Not familiar with the term yet? Don’t worry – after this blog, you will be! The intent of the Westminster events was to raise awareness of Fairtrade and, through this blog post I’ll also give you some more background, which will hopefully help you to make great choices next time you visit a supermarket or local shop.

Fairtrade Fortnight sticker

 #FairtradeFortnight

#FairtradeFortnight is annual event that has been taking place since 1997, and in 2016 it happened between 29 February and 13 March. The event is organised by the Fairtrade Foundation, but actually, everyone can join in and put on their own Fairtrade breakfast. I was very happy to see on their website that  nearly 64,000 people organised a fairtrade breakfast in the UK this year, and helped make a positive impact to farmers.

What is Fairtrade all about?

You might be wondering “how does it work”? “What difference does Fairtrade make to farmers”? In a world where much of competition is based on price, it is easy to conclude that someone is being affected by such low prices. Whereas many consumers enjoy a stroll along the aisles of the supermarkets in search of the cheapest products, farmers who source staples such as sugar, bananas, cocoa and coffee, struggle to make ends meet and feed their own families. By purchasing Fairtrade products you are helping to pay a surplus, called “Fairtrade Premium”. With this surplus, farmers can invest in their land and also provide for their families. This is a very summarised explanation, but you help you understand better the importance of paying a fair price to those who indeed produce what we eat. Fair enough, isn’t it?

Fairtrade Fortnight highlights

But now let’s go to the highlights of the Fairtrade Fortnight at Westminster Business School. The first event happened on Friday 4 March, and was organised by our wonderful Sustainability Team.

Members of the Sustainability Team, Estates and Facilities and the caterers
Members of the Sustainability Team, Estates and Facilities and the caterers

They set a pop-up stall and gave out freshly made gorgeous pancakes to all passers-by at the Learning Platform. Needless to say that all ingredients were Fairtrade! The event was so successful that it finished an hour earlier than expected as they run out of pancakes. I must confess that I had three myself 🙂

Fairtrade pancakes
Fancy a Fairtrade pancake?
Students enjoying Fairtrade pancakes
Students enjoying Fairtrade pancakes

But the real achievement was that students and staff could learn more about Fairtrade. Final year Business Management – Accounting BA student Kyaw Win said:

Kiaw Kim
Final year Management- Accounting BA student Kiaw Kim

“It is very important that Management students learn about Fairtrade. Just reading is not enough, but attending an event like this gives us a chance to grasp better the relevance of this topic. I realise that some students are not very clear about what Fairtrade is, so I really appreciate that the University is hosting this event and I think it was a very good idea!” Kiaw Kim

Ella Moore (CSR Coordinator) added weight to the occasion and provided all visitors with information and answered their questions.

Ella More
Ella Moore (University of Westminster CSR Coordinator)

“We are promoting Fairtrade Fortnight because it is so important for students and staff to know that we are a Fairtrade university supporting people along the supply chain to be fairly paid.” Ella Moore

The second event during the #FairtradeFortnight was a brunch organised by the Registry Green Impact Team on Wednesday 9 March. Members of staff volunteered to bring items containing at least one Fairtrade ingredient, either bought somewhere or made by themselves.

Green Impact and Fairtrade Fortnight
David Finlay from Fairtrade Foundation (left) and the Registry Green Impact Team

The guests had an opportunity to pop down to room MG14 to try some awesome Fairtrade recipes, such as scrumptious peanut cookies, irresistible chocolate and marshmallow biscuits, delicious chocolate brownies, a traditional Welsh cake and a jaw-droopingly good banoffee pie, to name just a few.

Fairtrade Fortnight
Guests arriving
Fairtrade Fortnight
Some of the Fairtrade dishes brought my members of staff
Fairtrade Fortnight
Fairtrade bananas can be easily found in London
Fairtrade Fornight
Fairtrade muffin
Fairtrade Fortnight
My friend and final year Marketing Communications BA student Oana Simons and I

With a discretionary contribution people could try as many items as they liked, including tea and coffee, that were also Fairtrade. All proceeds will be given to Fairtrade Foundation.

Fairtrade Fortnight
Rosie Peart from the Registry Green Impact Team

Fairtrade Fortnight talk and presentation

The brunch also featured a talk by David Finlay from Fairtrade Foundation and an insightful presentation on food price speculation from Dr Ola Sholarin.

Fairtrade Fortnight
David Finlay’s talk on Fairtrade
Fairtrade Foundation
It was a great opportunity to tap into the knowledge of the Fairtrade Foundation delegate
Dr Ola Sholarin
David Finlay (Fairtrade Foundation, Dr Ola Sholarin and International Development Management MSc students
Fairtrade Fortnight
Thank you to Divine chocolate and Starbucks  for supporting our event!

As a third year Placement Student with Westminster Business School’s Marketing team I have really gained the opportunity to see how involved with CSR the university is. Did you know for example that the University of Westminster is one of the greenest universities in London?

Get involved with sustainability at Westminster Business School

If you want to get involved or just want to learn more about Green Impact, please visit our website. By getting involved you can improve your experience at university, have fun and help the university to be greener. I am thoroughly enjoying being part of the scheme in my department and am looking forward to the award-ceremony that will take place around June 🙂

I hope you enjoy the post, and please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

If you wish to read some of my other posts I suggest:

A student trip to Amsterdam with Westminster’s Student Union!

Westminster Business School students enjoy a night out at Tussauds with celebrities

Business Management BA new students’ annual social event at the Drum in Wembley

Marketing and Business Strategy PhD Student, Lilit Baghdasaryan, wins prize at 8th MMU Research Conference

André Tieni Vidigal
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André Tieni Vidigal

Marketing Assistant at Westminster Business School- University of Westminster
Marketer, creative, engaged with social media, blog posts and electronic newsletters. Follow me on Snapchat: atvidigal
André Tieni Vidigal
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