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Welcome to the Fair Trade Community of Practice

Increasing numbers of educational institutions are gaining Fairtrade status, a Fairtrade Foundation accreditation. Institutions are making commitments to buying and selling fair trade goods, are setting up steering groups, and are raising awareness on trade justice issues among staff and students.

This network was set up in 2013 to facilitate sharing of ideas, experience and best practice related to fair trade in universities and colleges in the UK.

We feel that while Fairtrade and university and college status is a good starting point, questions of fairness in trade go much further. For example, there are opportunities to collaborate with other fair trade certification bodies, and with suppliers that don’t have a fair trade label. There are a wide range of initiatives focusing on workers’ rights and supply chain codes of conduct. Other groups hope to make global trade fairer by changing international trade rules.

This network encourages participation from sustainability officers, procurement staff, academic staff, any other staff with an interest in fair trade, and students (for example student society representatives). Critical discussion and dissemination of relevant resources via the network is encouraged. While the majority of communication will take place by email list, we hope to organise face to face meetings at conferences where possible.

Questions network members may wish to discuss include:

• What is fair trade? (in a broader sense)
• How can a university or college trade more fairly?
• How can we increase student and staff awareness and engagement in fair trade issues?
• How can we encourage more teaching and research about fairness in trade?
• What does/should it mean to be operating within a Fair Trade Nation? (A status awarded to Wales in 2008 and to Scotland in 2013).

It is envisaged that such discussion could inspire staff and student action, policy change, academic research, and inter-institution collaboration.

About Liz Cooper, Convenor

Liz Cooper is the Research and Policy Manager for Social Responsibility and Sustainability at University of Edinburgh (previously Fair Trade Coordinator). Liz spent four years working on fair trade projects in developing countries, before completing an MSc in Business and Community at the University of Bath. She now works on fair trade engagement and the development of a Fair Trade Academic Network at the University of Edinburgh. See and 


Liz Cooper
Research and Policy Manager for Social Responsibility and Sustainability
University of Edinburgh

What is going on?

2017 - Fairtrade Fortnight 
This year's Fairtrade Fortnight (27 February - 12 March) highlights the exploitation faced by many farmers and producers and how it’s time to put fairtrade in your break.


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How to search for previous discussions

This CoP is open to all EAUC Members and other invited parties to learn and share experiences in the field of fair trade. It is not a forum for commercial gain.

We know that there are many topics that come up regularly on the discussion networks so here is a quick and easy guide on how to search for previous discussions:

  1. Go to and click on ‘Subscribers Corner’
  2. Click on the discussion network you would like to search – ‘EAUC-FT’ is the list for this Discussion Network
  3. The three ‘Latest messages’ are shown in a box near the top of the page. Click the message to read the entire post.
  4. To search the list for a particular topic use the 'Search Archive' box on the right-hand side of the screen. Type the keyword/s you would like to search for and this will bring up a list of all posts containing that word/phrase.
  5. You can further refine your search by adding parameters.

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Convenor Liz Cooper
Convenor Liz Cooper

Fair Trade CoP Conference meeting "selfie"
Fair Trade CoP Conference meeting "selfie"