Irene Kijara Tea factory

UWE Bristol Fairtrade policy and progress

Over the past seven years through a strategic approach to product offer promotion and campaigns, we have increased sales from £78,000 to over £1,190,000. 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 and the Environmental Universities and Colleges Green Gown awards in the Food and Drink category for our work on Fairtrade.

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 and embedding a culture of global citizenship.


To achieve Fairtrade University status, in 2006 UWE Bristol 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 and the conference centre at Frenchay campus. 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.
  • We are committed to campaigning for increased Fairtrade consumption on campus.
  • We are a committed to co-ordinating 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, with increased sales figures as a result
  • Innovative promotion and campaigning and engagement activities
  • A commitment in our Sustainability Plan 2020 breakthrough indicator to grow sales by 25% - in the event sales have increased by over 1,300% 
  • Resolutions from The Students' Union at UWE Annual General Meeting to increase Fairtrade products on campus
  • Over 95% of coffee served on campus now 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 2018/19:

  • Full of Beans coffee cart was an outright winner in the ‘Café or restaurant’ category
  • Gold award for Phaz Café
  • Best Fairtrade University, UWE Bristol won a gold award.

Over the last six 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.

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