University gets top marks to retain Fairtrade status

EDINBURGH University has retained its Fairtrade status after receiving a glowing report for its ethical buying.

The independent Fairtrade Foundation has agreed to renew Edinburgh's position as a Fairtrade University, after reviewing its record for buying products from developing countries.

The foundation was impressed by statistics such as more than a million cups of Fairtrade coffee were drunk at the university in the last academic year.

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Edinburgh became Scotland's first Fairtrade University in 2003. Since then 20 more universities across the UK have signed up.

Green MSP Mark Ballard, rector of Edinburgh University, said: "When I was at university I campaigned for the first Fairtrade coffee option in the union cafe.

"It's great that the university has made so much progress in selling products that ensure workers are treated fairly.

"The global trade system discriminates against the world's poorest people, and buying Fairtrade is one easy, everyday way of helping them while campaigners continue to push the UK Government to change these unfair trading rules. As the first Fairtrade university in Scotland, Edinburgh has set an excellent example."

Tim Gee, vice president of services at Edinburgh University Students Association, said: "This year it will be easier than ever for universities to commit to Fairtrade.

"Following the Fairtrade NUS campaign last year the students unions' buying consortium has committed to supplying Fairtrade tea, coffee and hot chocolate as default from January 2007. Every university that has made the switch has found that it makes commercial as well as moral sense."