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Fair Trade Campus Week arrives at Concordia September 21 to 25

A week of activities underlines how we can support better conditions for producers of our favourite consumables
September 15, 2015
By Shelagh Peden

Striking images by Alumnus and photojournalist Éric St-Pierre will be on display for Fair Trade Campus Week. | Images courtesy of the artist Striking images by alumnus and photojournalist Éric St-Pierre, who has specialized in fair-trade imagery since 1996, will be on display during the week of activities at Concordia. | Photos courtesy of Éric St-Pierre

Some of the poorest people in the world are those who harvest the beans for our morning java. And we drink a LOT of coffee. Not just here at Concordia, but across North America.

It’s difficult to grasp the magnitude: The coffee industry is among the largest and most lucrative in the world, second only to petroleum. And coffee is just one of more than a dozen trade sectors in which workers continue to be treated unfairly. Others include cocoa, handicrafts, shea butter and quinoa.  

Which is why Concordia is celebrating Fair Trade Campus Week from September 21 to 25 to raise awareness and engage the campus community in supporting fair trade.

Let’s make Concordia a Fair Trade Campus               

Right now, the Fair Trade Campus Steering Committee is working to have Concordia recognized as a Fair Trade Campus. The designation is bestowed upon colleges and universities by Fairtrade Canada in recognition of leadership in social sustainability by promoting fair-trade products and values.

This designation requires the exclusive sale of fair-trade coffee on campus (excluding franchises) and that the school offer at least three fair-trade certified teas wherever tea is served and at least one certified chocolate bar wherever chocolate bars are sold.

The committee’s goals are to monitor compliance with Fair Trade Campus standards, measure annual progress and organize educational activities to advance the awareness of fair-trade issues.

How can you make a difference?

First, opt for products that have been certified as fair trade.


The Fairtrade certification (left) is granted by Fairtrade International (FLO), of which Fair Trade Canada is the only Canadian member.

Next, be prepared to have the conversation. Open your mind to the inequality these producers are subjected to. The more awareness is raised, the more likely adequate working conditions will be put in place.

Events to check out during Fair Trade Campus Week

All week long, striking images by Éric St-Pierre will be on display on the ground floor of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building), between the security desk and the FOFA Gallery.

The professional photojournalist and Concordia alumnus has specialized in fair-trade imagery since 1996. After visiting more than 25 countries to document a wide variety of fair-trade products, he has mounted four major photo exhibitions and published three books.

Café, Costa Rica | Photo by Éric St-Pierre

His latest, Fair Trade: A Human Journey, is one of the most complete collections of photographs ever published on fair trade. St-Pierre is a founding member and co-president of the board of directors of the Quebec Fair Trade Association.

Take advantage of the opportunity to chat fair trade with Gustavo and Salvador of the Mexican avocado co-operative Pragor.

When: Monday, September 21, from 12 to 1 p.m.
Where: Room E-104 in the Grey Nuns Building (1190 Guy St.), Sir George Williams Campus

Organized by Environmental Health and Safety and Residence Life, this event is open to all.

Where on campus are fair-trade products found?

All of the Concordia Food Services locations run by Aramark offer fair-trade coffee, tea and chocolate. Additionally, all of the university-approved caterers are required to serve certified coffee and tea exclusively.

  • The Hive sells fair-trade coffee from La Brûlerie Santropol, tea and Rise Kombucha.

  • The G-Lounge, a student-run café on the Loyola Campus, sells fair-trade coffee, tea and chocolate.

  • Le Frigo Vert (2130 Mackay St.), a student-run organic food co-operative, sells affordable, fair-trade brewed coffee, as well as ground beans, tea, chocolate, sugar, molasses, Palestinian olive oil and bananas.

  • Café X sells direct trade coffee, Camino chocolate, tea and Rise Kombucha. Find them on the seventh floor of the EV Building and in the Visual Arts Building, both located on the Sir George Williams Campus.

Learn more about the sustainability efforts going into Concordia’s food services.

Questions? For more information, contact Isabelle Mailhot-Leduc, Concordia’s sustainable food system coordinator.


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