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Motivated and Committed to Becoming a Fairtrade University

A steering group has been formed at Chemnitz University of Technology that coordinates activities around fair trade on the way to becoming a Fairtrade University and beyond

In April 2023, a steering group was established at Chemnitz University of Technology to become a Fairtrade University, after both the Senate of Chemnitz University of Technology and the student body had previously passed a resolution to it. The steering group includes Tobias Vogel and Claudia Böttger (Department of Ecology and Sustainability of the Student Council of Chemnitz University of Technology), Thomas Land (University Administration), and Pierre Pätzold (Head of University Catering, Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau). Other members are Prof. Dr. Marlen Gabriele Arnold (Professorship of Corporate Environmental Management and Sustainability of Chemnitz University of Technology), Dr. Jan Reißmann (Professorship of Machine Elements and Product Development), Dr. André Matthes (Professorship of Textile Technologies) and Julita Schmidt (Department of Event Management and Merchandising).

"Now the aim is to fill university life with the idea of fair trade. This means preferring products from fair trade at regular meetings and public events, placing fair trade products in university shops or vending machines, and organising four events around the topic of fair trade per year," Arnold describes the way forward and adds: "We are also very pleased about the targeted support of the Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau by offering corresponding products in the university catering facilities. In the dining halls and cafeterias, fair trade teas and sugar sticks have now been added to the range of sweets, coffee and soft drinks. Further products such as rice, quinoa, bananas and cocoa are also being tested."

Members and affiliates of Chemnitz University of Technology are now called upon to actively engage with the topic of fair trade, to reflect on their buying and consumption behavior in the university environment and to actively replace products with fair trade products. "Striving for the Fairtrade University label is a step towards more sustainability in our higher education landscape - and should also encourage consumption that is regional, ecological or organic and low in greenhouse gas emissions," says Arnold. She adds: "We would be delighted if we could learn when and where particular fair trade products are used at regular meetings at Chemnitz University of Technology and ask for feedback at nachhaltigkeit@tu-chemnitz.de."

The steering group aims to meet twice per semester. The leadership and organization of the meetings will be taken over by the student body. "Ideas and suggestions are always welcome," says Arnold.

Contact the steering group: e-mail oekologie@stura.tu-chemnitz.de

Background: Fairtrade University

Any college, technical college or university in Germany can apply to become a Fairtrade University. To be awarded the title of Fairtrade University by Fairtrade Deutschland e. V., the institution must demonstrably meet five criteria that reflect commitment to fair trade at various levels. This includes the university jointly committing to promoting fair trade through a university resolution and establishing a steering group at the university. In addition, fair trade products should be sold at events and used in catering services. The final criterion requires the university to actively promote fair trade in public relations.

(Author: Mario Steinebach / Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Matthias Fejes

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