Sussex has achieved Fairtrade status, committing the institution to decent working conditions and the maintenance and support of sustainable local production.
“The University and Student’s Union have committed to the development of a Fairtrade policy, having Fairtrade options available in all outlets and venues, running campaigns and establishing a Fairtrade steering group.”, according to the Students’ Union. In mid-2017 the NUS voted to make all the clothes they sell through University Students’ Unions 100% Fairtrade by 2021.
During Summer 2016, Sussex Students’ Unions’ then Society and Citizenship Officer was elected onto the Nus Charitable Services Board. This is a national group consisting of elected members from universities across the UK. The group is responsible for managing the Charity and general oversight of individual student unions. Two sub-committees monitor finance issues and matters relating to human resources within the NUS. The group visited India in 2017 to observe the manufacturing process of the NUS-owned company Epona, which has been working towards 100% Fairtrade clothing production.
In February 2017 the Students’ Union voted to open a referendum to students on whether it should commit to sourcing 100% Fairtrade clothing by 2021. The policy would focused on clothing in the Students’ Union shop, Union staff and clothing purchased by sports clubs and societies. However, this particular referendum failed to attract enough votes to influence Union policy.