Irene Kijara Tea factory

UWE Bristol Fairtrade policy and progress

Over the past 5 years through a strategic approach to product offer promotion and campaigns, we have increased sales from £78,000 to £820,000. In the process, we have used Fairtrade to raise awareness of issues of social and economic justice and global citizenship within our University community.

We have shared good practice and gained external recognition in the form of success at the South West Fairtrade Business awards.

The benefits to the University have been many, from meeting our formal sustainability objectives and University 2020 Strategy Graduate Attributes, to providing study and volunteering opportunities.


To achieve Fairtrade University status, in 2006 the UWE Bristol authorities and The Students' Union (SU) together agreed a Fairtrade policy incorporating these five goals:

  • Fairtrade foods are made available and actively marketed for sale in all campus shops
  • Fairtrade foods are used in the majority cafes/restaurants/bars on all campuses. Where this is not possible, there is a commitment to begin to use Fairtrade foods in these establishments as soon as it becomes possible to do so. We also work hard to source ethical suppliers
  • Fairtrade coffee, tea, and sugar are sold at the majority of catering outlets and served at all meetings hosted by us and The Students' Union
  • there is a commitment to campaign for increased Fairtrade consumption on campus
  • we co-ordinate a joint UWE Bristol/Students' Union Fairtrade supporters group to progress the agenda year on year.

We achieved these goals and were first granted the status of Fairtrade University in April 2006. In view of our ongoing progress, this status has since been renewed on a biannual basis.


Commitment to Fairtrade from staff and students has grown over the years, witnessed by:

  • more products stocked, which increased sales
  • innovative promotion and greater engagement in issues
  • a commitment in our Sustainability Plan 2020 breakthrough indicator to grow sales by 25%, in the event sales have increased by over 1000% 
  • resolutions from The Students' Union at UWE AGM (annual general meeting) to increase Fairtrade products on campus
  • over 70% of coffee has the Fairtrade accreditation, the remainder is fairly traded with no accreditation. We are working towards replacing this coffee with the full accreditation.

Our efforts have achieved external recognition at the South West Fairtrade awards, where we are regular winners of awards in many categories, In 2016/7:

  • Full of Beans coffee cart was an outright winner in the ‘Café or restaurant’ category
  • Gold award for Phaz Café
  • Silver award for the Students' Union shop in Best Fairtrade Retailer category
  • Best Fairtrade University, UWE Bristol were a joint winner with Bristol University.

Over the last four years, the Awards have boosted awareness of Fairtrade at the University and we have used our successes as a vehicle to get the message across and galvanise action.

In addition to this we were 2017 finalists in the Environmental Universities and Colleges Green Gown awards in the Food and Drink category for our work on Fairtrade.

Contact the Sustainability team or The Students' Union Green Team if you have any queries.

Back to top