Serving up sustainability: Dal earns Fairtrade campus designation

- February 21, 2024

Dalhousie now offers ethically sourced coffee, tea and chocolate in all meals halls, food establishments and catering services. (Provided photos)
Dalhousie now offers ethically sourced coffee, tea and chocolate in all meals halls, food establishments and catering services. (Provided photos)

A cup of coffee or tea can provide a mental boost and a bit of warm comfort to meet the demands of a day. At Dalhousie, it's easier than ever to get a daily pick-me-up that doesn’t come at the expense of farmers and producers.

The university has officially been designated as a Fairtrade Campus, offering ethically sourced coffee, tea and chocolate in all meal halls, food establishments and catering services.

“From teaching and learning to research, food services and community engagement, Fairtrade is at the core of Dalhousie's commitment to sustainability,” says Loïc de Fabritus Gautier, senior manager of advocacy and citizen engagement at Fairtrade Canada, the national organization responsible for designating organizations.

“Through these efforts, Dalhousie is demonstrating leadership in trade justice and helping to make a positive difference for more than two million farmers and workers around the world,” adds Gautier.

Prioritizing Fairtrade

Dal’s journey to achieving Fairtrade Campus designation began in 2020 when the initiative was championed by the Dalhousie Fairtrade Campus Committee, an integral part of the President’s Advisory Council on Sustainability.

Dal’s Office of Sustainability managed the application process through building a strong partnership between the committee, the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office (DSUSO) and food service providers such as Aramark, Compass/Chartwells, and DSU Food Services (Catering and the Grawood) to implement the Fairtrade program and standards across all four of Dalhousie's campuses offering ethically sourced coffee, tea and chocolate in meal halls, food establishments and in catering services.

The Office of Sustainability’s role included conducting site visits and audits, meeting regularly with food service providers, and working diligently with DSUSO to educate the Dal community about the benefits of Fairtrade products.

"Our commitment to sustainability and ethical consumption has now gained tangible recognition with our designation as a Fairtrade Campus," says Cameron Perfitt, current operations manager for DSUSO and a member of the Dalhousie Fairtrade Campus Committee.

"I am happy to be part of this change that will not only make the Dalhousie community more sustainable, but also the livelihoods of the international farmers and communities that are a vital part of the Fairtrade system. This achievement underscores our dedication to promoting social and environmental responsibility within our university community."

A meaningful step towards food sustainability

As a Fairtrade institution, Dalhousie has committed to prioritizing the availability of Fairtrade products across its campuses going forward.

“As part of Housing and Conference Services at Dalhousie, we're thrilled about our university's Fairtrade campus designation. Offering Fairtrade products aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainability and ethical practice,” says Linda Parker, assistant vice-president housing and conference services (acting) at Dal.

“It's a meaningful step towards promoting food sustainability and ensuring our community has access to ethically sourced goods. We're proud to play a role in Dalhousie's journey towards a more sustainable future,” she adds. -

The university will celebrate its Fairtrade Campus status annually during Fairtrade Month in October, reaffirming its commitment to creating a more just and sustainable world — one campus food service at a time.

For more information or to get involved, please contact


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus