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ASFA updates ethical purchasing policy

by Mina Mazumder March 12, 2019
ASFA updates ethical purchasing policy

Policy changes include more local, ethical and eco-friendly products on campus

The Arts and Science Federation of Associations’s (ASFA) ethical purchasing policy was updated at a council meeting on Feb. 14. This policy aims to respect ASFA’s values as a consumer by considering sustainability, ethical practices and financial solvency. It is also set to be reviewed every three years.

“This policy will affect arts and science undergraduate students by providing them with resources to address how their purchases can incorporate sustainable practices,” said Kayla Miller, ASFA’s Loyola and sustainability coordinator. She added the policy is founded on social, economic and environmental sustainability.

The changes to the policy relate to locality, environmental sustainability and harassment. All newly-elected member association executives will need to be made aware of the policy.

According to the updated policy, ASFA and its member associations will give a preference to suppliers based in the province of Quebec. However, if no suppliers are available within the province, Canadian suppliers will be considered local.

ASFA and its member associations (MAs) will not buy single-use plastic items, including plastic straws, cutlery, water bottles and disposable cups, for their events. Instead, they will invest in reusable items, biodegradable materials or access free materials from The Dish Project, a “student-run waste reduction initiative” that provides reusable dishes for free, according to its website.

ASFA and its MAs are also mandated to prioritize buying ethically-sourced food that contributes minimally to environmental damage, which includes having vegan and vegetarian options at events. To reduce food waste, ASFA and its MAs must make an effort to donate the unused food to students, food banks and soup kitchens. Finally, they won’t purchase factory-farmed meats or support animal abuse.

“It is integral, moving forward, that we as consumers acknowledge our responsibility to reduce environmental harm and degradation by abiding by ethical purchasing standards,” Miller said.

“Our hope at ASFA is that [the Ethical Purchasing Policy] will provide students with the necessary resources and tools to be able to effectively implement sustainable practices on a day-to-day basis,” said Miller.

“We hope that students will abide by ethical purchasing standards within their respective member associations and continuously strive to improve themselves individually and collectively,” said Miller.

Some changes were also made to the “standards of labour” section concerning workers. An update states that physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse, including corporal punishment, will not be tolerated.

Students are encouraged to consult the ASFA Harassment, Discrimination and Violence Policy, which gives further information concerning these issues.

In addition, overtime work should not exceed 12 hours per employee per week, and all employees who work from home should keep a weekly log of their hours to be fairly compensated.

Graphic by @sundaemorningcoffee

A previous version of this article included the headline “ASFA creates ethical purchasing policy.” The headline now reads “ASFA updates ethical purchasing policy.” The Concordian regrets the error.

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