GreenEUR, a student group for sustainable solutions, will reapply for the fair-trade label for Erasmus University in 2012. Despite having run into some bureaucratic problems in 2009, renewed interest coupled with the Rotterdam municipality also seeking the fair trade label, will hopefully bring results.

Collete Grosscurt, the project manager for GreenEUR, organized a successful event last November where over 70 people – representing a variety of interest groups – met to discuss the matter. Facing overwhelming positive feedback, the support of Rotterdam municipality and the willingness to collaborate by the campus caterer Albron, there remain no major hurdles in the road to obtaining the label.

Not only about prestige

Sadly, Erasmus won’t be the first – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam was the first in the Netherlands to be branded as Free Trade, however Colette is optimistic. “We already fulfill the criteria in order to become Fair Trade – we have at least four products, including bananas, that are fair trade in our canteens, and at least 60% of the coffee, tea, and cacao are fair trade.” Yet, the label is not only about practicalities and prestige for the University.

Stop the flyers!

Adriaan Bakker, a student interested in environmental causes, says that Fair Trade is a wonderful initiative, but that more awareness has to be raised, since most people know nothing else about it besides coffee, chocolate, and bananas. “Attention should be paid not only to Fair Trade products, but also organic alternatives, better recycling initiatives on campus, and stopping people handing out useless flyers that get thrown out in an instant”.

Fair Trade work group

The Fair Trade project is already raising awareness that universities, towns, churches, or communities can all obtain the fair trade label, but GreenEUR still needs more people participating in their work group. You can apply by writing short motivation letter and sending your CV to the organization. English speakers are welcome!

And if you are seeking Fair Trade products, check out The World Shop and the next pack of your hagelslag can be sustainable and responsible. MD