The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, an academic institution in Cambridge, has become the newest Fairtrade status college in the UK.
Dr Oonagh O'Brien, principal of the college, said: "We have taken an important step to ensure that our college becomes more ethical. We see the promotion of Fairtrade within the Institute as consistent with our principles and practice as a Catholic Higher Education institution. It is surely right that we should be attentive to the dignity and rights of all workers and to the creation of long term ethical relationships of supply and demand across the globe. So we are proud to have achieved our Fairtrade status this year. We will continue to play our part to spread the message of our global responsibility to build a more socially just world."
A Fairtrade University or College is one that has made a commitment to supporting and using Fairtrade. They ensure that Fairtrade products are available in as many places as possible and they raise awareness of Fairtrade and the benefits that it brings to producers in developing countries with students and staff. To achieve Fairtrade status the Institute has had to evidence that it has met the five goals of accreditation which are assessed by the Fairtrade Foundation.
Irish theology student, Rosalie Ni Mhaoldomhaigh, who chaired the Institute's Fairtrade steering group said: "To achieve accreditation we set about raising awareness about Fairtrade within the Institute, holding meetings and events over the last year with staff and students many of whom were initially unfamiliar with Fairtrade. We also supported Fairtrade fortnight, decorating our student common room in fairly traded cotton bunting and encouraging active participation in the Take a Step campaign. We've also pushed the use of Fairtrade products across the Institute, even switching our order to fairly traded altar wine for our weekly mass in college.
Mary Watkins, a MBIT student, said: "We were delighted that all our hard work has resulted in successfully achieving Fairtrade status. We were told by the Fairtrade Foundation that our application was one of the most imaginative attempts at accreditation they had seen and it's been lots of fun to achieve it. We're pleased to play our small part in supporting our neighbours in the developing world to get a better deal. We're determined to keep our Fairtrade profile high with each new intake of students."
Pat Heap, chair of the Cambridge Fair Trade City Steering Group, on presenting the college with their Fairtrade award at the college's Fairtrade garden party on 15 June 2012 said: "When we look at the problems in the world, we often feel so helpless. But the beauty of fair-trade is that it means that we can all make a difference, not just in a one off way, but day by day, by our consumer choices. We can help suppliers in the developing world create a better life for themselves and their families."
The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, is an academic institution and part of the Cambridge Theological Federation, that works within the Roman Catholic Church, and its principle of human flourishing through God's grace. It sets out to offer transforming experiences, primarily but not exclusively for women, the community and the Church through theological education, professional pastoral experience and personal formation, assisting women and men to discern God's call and preparing them for lay ministries in the Church and wider society. For more information see: http://www.margaretbeaufort.cam.ac.uk/