THE Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is driving an initiative to support smaller suppliers and help both local communities and those in the developing world.
The University is also committed to supporting the Fairtrade Foundation campaigns, and buying products with the Fairtrade Mark when a local alternative is unavailable.
The university has ensured that all retail outlets within the University sell Fairtrade food and drink products. It has to done this to help small-scale farmers in marginalised groups make a living from their trade and are protected from discrimination, child labour and poor working conditions.
To support the campaign, the new RAU and RAUSU (Student Union) Fairtrade Policy outlines all of the initiatives that are happening across the campus, as well as a number of goals for improvement.
These ongoing initiatives include, only serving Fairtrade tea and coffee at events, selling Fairtrade wine in the bar, and ensuring much of the clothing sold in the University shop is Fairtrade.
In the past year, there have been a number of events that have celebrated the University’s commitment to Fairtrade. The RAU Student Union hosted a Fairtrade Wine evening promoting the cause of the campaign as well as the quality of the products, and the Atrium café hosted a raffle during Fairtrade Fortnight February 24 until March, 9 with a lucky winner receiving a basket full of Fairtrade goodies.
As a world renowned agricultural institution, with specialist courses such as the BSc (Hons) International Business Management (Food and Agribusiness), BSc (Hons) Food Production and Supply Management, and MSc Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, these issues are also discussed in lectures and seminars at the RAU.
Students studying modules such as ‘Small Scale Farming and Local Food Supply’ and ‘Poverty and Food Security’ learn about a range of private standards including the Fairtrade Mark and are invited to discuss the implications, benefits and practice of such schemes.
Fairtrade is also covered in Master level modules on marketing, and postgraduate students studying on the MBA Business Management in the Food Industries, the only course of its kind in the UK, undertake an International Agri-food Marketing module with dedicated Fairtrade case studies. As well providing students with a greater awareness of these areas, it also equips them with skills in critical analysis, debate and lateral thinking.
Knowledge and skills such as these contribute to the Royal Agricultural University’s impeccably high employability rate. Ranked in the top 10% of universities and colleges in the UK for employability, a recent HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) survey found that 97.5% of postgraduates and 96.3% of undergraduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation.
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