Lakeshore named first fair-trade campus in Ontario

Ross Lopes
Life Reporter

Humber Lakeshore is the first college in Ontario to receive a campus fair-trade designation and the 29th fair-trade designated campus in Canada.

Humber Lakeshore campus celebrated on Jan. 10 with guest speakers talking about the effort and dedication put into achieving this goal.

The idea behind bringing the fair-trade products to campus was to create fair labour practices for farmers. It would help them earn a fair living through their process and production capabilities, according to sustainability manager Roma Malik.

“Through engagement, we’ve been able to educate everyone about what fair-trade means, what it means in terms of impasse for students, in terms of farmers [earning] a fair wage so that they can better lies with their own families and their communities as they produce the food we consume,” she said.

Fair-trade is a movement that works to ensure that agricultural producers in developing countries receive an equitable share of the profits from the sale of their goods in industrialized countries, president of Humber College Chris Whitaker said.

“A fair-trade designated campus is an educational institution that has committed itself to supporting the goals of the fair-trade movement,” he said.

It’s important to realize that though Humber has checked the basic minimum requirements in the designation process, it’s not an all or nothing movement, Malik said.

“We are essentially formalizing our commitment to fair-trade as a campus, that our work will continue to evolve over time and continue to increase the percentage of sustainable food that is procured, most importantly fair-trade products that procured for our campus,” she said.

Humber will continue to strive to maintain its leadership in sustainability and engagement and programming through the 2014-2019 sustainability plan, Whitaker said.

“With this designation, Humber has committed itself to supporting the goals of the fair-trade movement and providing education and outreach to promote fair-trade movement and the consumption of fair-trade certified products,” he said.

Throughout the many years of the sustainability plan, there have been quite a few significant achievements that Humber has accomplished, senior vice-president of planning and corporate services Rani Dhaliwal said.

“The number of achievements we have achieved over the last number of years is a testament to the leadership, the strength of the student’s involvement, the faculty and staff, and the commitment to the value of sustainability,” she said.

Sustainability is one of Humber’s six core values, and with the designation of fair-trade on campus, it shows Humber is building sustainability into all that it does, Whitaker said.

“At Humber, we have certain values as an institution, and when we establish those values, it can’t just be with words. We have to walk the talk, we have to bring those values to life. We know that it’s a continuous process and our work is never done, as we peruse our values and particularly continuous improvement of sustainability initiatives,” he said.

The office of sustainability has been leading this initiative and achieved its goal of fair-trade designation on campus, Dhaliwal said.

“We need to recognize the hard work and dedication of all those, the students who have started some of the fair-trade conversations and got it to where it is, and the committee and the memberships,” she said.

Over the next several years, Humber will be working to advocate that all of its institutions, all of its campuses will continue to have fair-trade certified products wherever they sell products on campus, Malik said.

“Achieving this designation marks an important point in our progress as a sustainable institution and we are just starting our journey in fair-trade,” she said.

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