In 2016, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) received the title of being a Fairtrade University. The TU/e is glad to announce that this title has been extended for the coming three years (2021-2023)! Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
According to the Assessment Committee of Fairtrade Universities, Fairtrade goes beyond the use of Fairtrade products at the University. The TU/e propagates the principles of Fairtrade and incorporates them in its purchasing policy and sustainable business operations. The TU/e also offers Fairtrade products in its canteens, shops and vending machines on campus.
Sustainable Development Goals
Fairtrade is a trademark for the trade in developed countries in which fair prices are paid. In 10 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals Fairtrade is involved. In 2015, the UN set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals state that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
The TU/e states in its central vision for 2030, The Strategy 2030; Drivers of Change, that it supports the Sustainable Development Goals. To confirm its commitment to the SDGs, the TU/e signed the SDG Charter together with multiple partners in the Brainport Region. The process of implementing the SDGs in business operations, research and education is an ongoing process at the TU/e.
Guidelines for sustainability
In the last few years, several aspects have been improved to move towards a more sustainable TU/e campus. These improvements correspond to the five sustainability themes that the TU/e lives by:
1. Social Sustainability & Vitality
2. Abundant clean renewable energy
3. Circular & restorative resources
4. Green oasis
5. Smart and green mobility
Mainly within the guideline of ‘Social Sustainability & Vitality’ and ‘Circular & restorative resources’ the focus is in line with the concepts of Fairtrade.
The TU/e aims to ensure that there are no structural obstacles to people’s health, influence, competence, impartiality and meaning worldwide. Another ultimate long term objective is that all products used by the TU/e should fit into a circular process and be free from substances that harm people or the environment.
The role of the GO Green Office
Within the GO Green Office also changes took place which include the naming of Fairtrade labels more explicitly and on a regular basis. For our office, being Fairtrade is an ideal means to reach our own set goals for the new vision on sustainability. We are aware that Fairtrade is a means to move towards sustainable development rather than a goal itself. The Green Room, the physical sustainability hub of the TU/e, reflects upon our vision. We stimulate to let ‘Fairtrade’ play a role within the projects of the GO Green Office and other parties.
An example of such a project would be the sharing of advice to study associations, teams and organizations to promote in a sustainable and fair way. This is done in the form of informational manuals, like the Sustainable Promotion Manual.
What is coming
The next steps will be to keep our title as a Fairtrade University; to act accordingly and promote Fairtrade even more to share the value. This can be done by organizing creative events, showing movies or giving lectures. Next to that, for the internal organization of the TU/e we need to keep taking work conditions into account.
The GO Green Office wants to pay more attention to people. Not only people at the TU/e but to anyone. Let’s be driven by what we can change!