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Université de Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal obtain Fair Trade Campus designation

Marie Cinq-Mars, Lionel Perez, David Heurtel, Andréanne St-Gelais, Guy Breton, Christophe Guy, Samuel Tremblay, Éric St-Pierre et Denis Sylvain.

MONTREAL, March 13, 2017 – It is with great pride that Université de Montréal rector Guy Breton and Polytechnique Montréal CEO Christophe Guy, accompanied by representatives of three student associations, received the official designation of Fair Trade Campus on behalf of their respective institutions in a recent joint ceremony. On hand to present the certificates was Éric St-Pierre, a mobilization officer with Oxfam-Québec and co-president of the Association québécoise du commerce equitable.

The Fair Trade Campus program is an initiative of Fairtrade Canada, managed in partnership with the Canadian Fair Trade Network and the Association québécoise du commerce équitable. The program recognizes college and university campuses that demonstrate strong commitment to fair trade through their product offerings in student cafés and institutional food services. To qualify for Fair Trade Campus designation, all coffee served must be certified Fairtrade and three certified Fairtrade tea choices and one chocolate option must be offered at every food service outlet.

“With this designation, we have become the largest Francophone Fair Trade Campus in Canada. And the fact that we’re receiving it alongside Polytechnique Montréal means that the impact will be felt by some 60,000 people daily. It’s as if an entire small town decided to adopt fair trade!” declared Guy Breton. “A university like ours is a powerful agent of change within society and our students were able to harness that power to further a cause that’s very important to them.”

“The desire to change the world and to have a direct, positive impact on society is an integral part of the culture within our walls,” Christophe Guy added. “So while the Polytechnique community already naturally embraces the cause of fair trade, this designation will undoubtedly give fresh impetus to our commitment.”

Université de Montréal has adopted a joint action plan with FAECUM, its federation of student associations, and AGEEFEP, the student association of the Faculty of Continuing Education, aimed at increasing the number of fair trade items available on campus by 2020. Planned actions include selling clothing made from Fairtrade cotton in retail outlets on campus as well as a UdeM-FAECUM scholarship to be awarded to a student project focusing on fair trade issues.

“It’s very important for the FAECUM to show leadership in supporting the cause of socially responsible consumption,” explained Andréanne St-Gelais, FAECUM’s secretary general. “That’s why we worked closely with the managers of the 22 student cafés on campus to make a wide choice of fair trade products available to the entire university community.”

“Obtaining this designation marks a long-term shift toward greater social responsibility for Polytechnique’s student association. Combined with our goal of increasing the presence of fair trade items on campus and of local products on our menus, this is just the first step on the road to healthy and sustainable eating,” said Samuel Tremblay, vice-president of services for Polytechnique’s student association.

According to Éric St-Pierre of Oxfam-Québec and the Association québécoise du commerce équitable, “the decision by UdeM, Polytechnique Montréal and their 60,000 students to offer fair trade products in all their campus food outlets is a crucial choice that clearly reflects their commitment to sustainable development and their deep respect for producers in the Southern hemisphere. The Fair Trade Campus designation they received today is a fully deserved honour.”

UdeM and Polytechnique Montréal accepted their designation certificates on the opening day of the Douzaine du développement durable, a series of activities related to sustainable development held on the campuses of UdeM, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal over a 12-day period. Spearheaded by the Institut de l’environnement, du développement durable et de l’économie circulaire, the second edition of this event was an opportunity for some 70,000 students to share initiatives around the theme of sustainable development.