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University wins Fairtrade and Zero Waste awards within week of each other

Press release issued: 14 July 2021

The University of Bristol has won two major sustainability awards in the space of a week.

Bristol is one of just four higher educational institutions to this year achieve Fairtrade status, an award given to those that have embedded ethical and sustainable practices into their catering, supply chains and curriculum.

Meanwhile, it also won a three-star Zero Waste award for slashing waste across the campus, a move that further reduces the University’s environmental impact.

Both awards represent several years of hard work from the University’s catering and sustainability teams.

The announcement comes a week after Bristol became the first university to get Green Labs Certification for all its laboratories – all 990 of them.

Erik Lithander, the University of Bristol’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, said: “The last few weeks have been outstanding for the University’s sustainability mission.

“Given our ambitious pledge of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, these awards represent very welcome validation of our direction of travel. But sustainability means much more than just carbon, and our overarching goal is to embed environmental and sustainable thinking into every decision we make.

“These two awards – not to mention our Green Labs Certification – are a huge vote of confidence from third parties that our sector-leading work is working.”

To achieve the Fairtrade University and College Award the University had to ensure its catering and goods for sale were ethically procured, that it championed Fairtrade values publicly, promoted Fairtrade events and educated new staff on Fairtrade values.

Students were recruited as volunteer auditors and given training, equipping them with transferrable skills.

The award is delivered by the Fairtrade Foundation, the National Union of Students and Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK).

Joanna Milis, Education Campaigns Manager for the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Completing the Fairtrade University and College Award in 2021 has been a remarkable achievement.

“All aspects of university life have been significantly impacted by the global pandemic. Institutions have had to manage frequently changing requirements for staff and student attendance on campus, and adapt to very different teaching to a normal year.”

Set up in 2010, the Zero Waste Awards scheme has more than 500 members and is the premier recognition scheme for businesses and organisations that are committed to increasing the amount of waste they reduce, reuse and recycle.

The organisers say “the overall objective of the scheme is to build a community of sustainable businesses, providing a platform for winners to collaborate and work together to reduce their environmental impact”.

Further information

  • Bristol was recently awarded Gold Sustainable Food City status, recognising the positive work undertaken across the city’s food system. The University supported this through sustainable food practices and initiatives within Source Catering. Read more on the Going for Gold Bristol webpage
  • Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK) is a new educational charity created by students and staff at NUS in response to the climate emergency and ecological crisis.  They actively support students to be the change that society needs, helping them learn, act and lead on sustainability
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