The standards

For a product to display the FAIRTRADE Mark it must meet the international Fairtrade standards.

Fairtrade International (FLO) sets and maintains the Fairtrade standards that producers and trading relationships must meet. FLO is owned jointly by 21 national labelling initiatives covering 22 countries and producer networks. These networks represent certified farmers and worker organisations across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. FLO sets standards and works with farmers and workers to help them meet the requirements; a separate certification company (FLO-CERT) regularly inspects and certifies producers against these standards.

All producers, processors and exporters in the producer country are certified by FLO-CERT. The products of importers and companies in the supply chain outside of the producer country are certified either by FLO-CERT or by the local labelling Initiative. The Fairtrade Foundation is responsible for certifying Fairtrade products in the UK. See For Business for more information.

What are the Fairtrade standards?
They’re not just a list of requirements for farmers and traders to farm and trade responsibly. They go further to support disadvantaged small-scale farmers and plantation workers. Fairtrade standards cover three areas: social development, economic development and environmental development. 
The standards:

  • ensure producers get a guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price to cover their costs
  • provide the additional Fairtrade Premium for farmers to invest in projects to benefit their communities and businesses
  • enable payment of contracts in advance if farmers need them
  • encourage partnerships between trade partners
  • set up mutually beneficial long-term trading relationships
  • set clear criteria to ensure that products are produced and traded under fair and environmentally responsible conditions
 How do they work?
Producer organisations have to meet minimum requirements in order to be certified and then, over time, they must meet more requirements which demonstrate permanent improvement.
For example, a minimum requirement is a ban on the use of agrochemicals in the FLO list of prohibited materials. A progress requirement is to keep reducing permitted agrochemicals. In this way, the standards enable poorer, more vulnerable farmers to enter the system, while supporting them to gradually improve their practices.Fairtrade recognises that progress depends on the economic benefits the organisation receives from Fairtrade and on the specific situation of each organisation.

Who must meet Fairtrade standards?
Producers and their organisations must meet Fairtrade standards, Generic Producer Standards and Product Specific Standards. Traders who deal with Fairtrade products must meet Trade Standards, Product Specific Standards and the Foundation’s Fairtrade Standards.

The Foundation’s Fairtrade Standards are for all companies in the UK that trade in Fairtrade products. This incorporates the FLO Trade Standards and Product Specific Standards and can be found here. You can read the Producer Standards, Product Specific Standards and Trade Standards on the Fairtrade International (FLO) website.

For more information about the standards please visit the Fairtrade Foundation website by clicking here

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