Approved by the: University Senate - April 3, 2008
Administration - May 13, 2008*
Board of Regents - no action required

* The University supports offering fair trade coffee to campus customers where reasonable, including University residential, retail, and catering operations. In fact, since 2001, University Dining Service (UDS) has achieved a 48% increase in the availability of fair trade coffee to its campus customers, and offers at least one fair trade coffee choice at all locations, and in some venues offers it exclusively. The possibility of offering fair trade coffee exclusively is now automatically a part of the evaluation process when the University considers a new retail location on campus.

As part of their evaluation process, UDS balances social responsibility with customer demand. In response to customer satisfaction surveys, UDS has provided a broader range of coffee options to meet varied customer brand preferences and cost (for example, fair trade coffee can cost anywhere from 12-35% more than non-certified coffees, depending upon the roast and flavor profile). Also as a result of customer surveys, UDS has incorporated national brands like Starbucks, Dunn Bros, and Einstein's Bros which all offer a fair trade coffee selection, but do not exclusively offer fair trade coffee into campus offerings. UDS will continue to seek input from its campus customers on a regular basis to assess ongoing customer needs and demand for fair trade coffee. The University is encouraging UDS to continue efforts to increase the availability of fair trade coffee to its campus customers over the next three years as appropriate, and is also asking for an annual progress report to assess continued progress on this issue.

Finally, please note that the University is now incorporating social and corporate responsibility clauses in its contracts with outside vendors to communicate the University's expectation that vendors are expected to engage environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable activities. The University is a leader in this area of higher education and will continue to strive for the highest ideals of ethical business standards and practices.

Resolution on Fair Trade Coffee

Whereas, coffee is the second-largest legally traded commodity in the world market only behind oil; and

Whereas, coffee is generally produced in developing countries where workers and farmers suffer from exploitative conditions as well as a lack of access to market information; and

Whereas, farmers are forced to sell their coffee below market value at less than the cost of production and subsequently pushing them into severe hardship or leaving no option but to sell and leave their land; and

Whereas, with Fair Trade Certified coffee farmers obtain prices of 100-200% higher in comparison to non-Fair Trade; and

Whereas, workers on Fair Trade farms have safe working conditions, equity for women, freedom of association, and strict prohibitions on child labor; and

Whereas, the Fair Trade system works within cooperatives where long-term trading partnerships are established allowing farmers to get advance credit on coffee purchases to ensure that farmers can avoid insecurity surrounding the next harvest; and

Whereas, Fair Trade cooperatives are committed to community development and democratically decide on how to invest Fair Trade revenues in infrastructure such as healthcare and education; and

Whereas, Fair Trade coffee uses sustainable production practices, and is often Organic and Shade Grown improving the health of the environment and consumers alike; and therefore be it

RESOLVED that the University of Minnesota require in all food service contracts it signs into with food service providers that all coffee sold on its campuses (Twin Cities, Morris, Duluth, Crookston, and Rochester) must be 100% Fair Trade Certified including all coffee retail locations, catering operations, and residence halls; and be it further

RESOLVED that whenever possible, this coffee be Organic, Shade Grown, and purchased from a local roaster.

Approved by the Social Concerns Committee December 10, 2007
Approved by the Student Senate November 29, 2007

Return to Senate Resolutions Page