Did you know that Australians drink more than two billion cups of coffee, and spend more than $9 billion on coffee, every year?
Yet in developing countries, 80 per cent of coffee is produced by smallholder farmers with less than 10 hectares of land, and many live on less than $2 per day. These farmers are faced with food insecurity and unstable livelihoods.
Fair Trade Fortnight (9-22 May) at RMIT is an opportunity to lend support to the fight against poverty and exploitation, climate change and the economic crises that have the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Fair Trade organisations and supporters advocate that trade must benefit these producers and the most vulnerable people in the supply chain.
RMIT has been a Fair Trade University since 2009 and is proud that students, staff and retailers support Fair Trade products on all campuses.
The RMIT Campus Store stocks Fair Trade, organic RMIT merchandise, and Fair Trade ethical tea and coffee is available in the majority of cafes and staffrooms on campus.
Students and staff also actively engage with Fair Trade on campus through projects, such as a Sustainability Seedlings grant for a Fair Trade project in India, textile design and development students designing Fair Trade underwear, and photography students creating lookbooks and animations for Fair Trade companies.
During Fair Trade Fortnight, the RMIT community can get involved through a series of events on each campus including film screenings, talks and networking drinks.
Leadership in fair trade, sustainability and social enterprise (12 May) will see Seven Women’s founder Stephanie Woollard and Nepal Country Director Anita Kerr sharing their experiences of creating a sustainable charity that has employed more than 5000 women.
Visit the Fair Trade Fashion Expo (17 May, 12pm-7pm Brunswick campus) to see projects by fashion students focusing on fair fashion, leading into Sustainability Drinks from 5pm.
Fair Trade Fortnight runs from 9 to 22 May. Registration for events is essential.
Story: Melanie Lazelle