In order to apply the FAIRTRADE Label onto a product, both producers and traders must comply with the relevant Fairtrade Standards. Consumers can therefore be confident that the Fairtrade labelled product they buy has been grown and traded according to Fairtrade rules and that the premiums were paid to the farming communities.
Fairtrade certification is run by a separate company called FLO-Cert. FLO-Cert is an independent certification body that is specialised in Fairtrade audits. They have branches across producing regions and the office responsible for the Southern African region is located in Cape Town - Tel. +27 (0)21 6710289, Email email@example.com.
THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS
The certification process starts with the completion of an application questionnaire followed by a scope-check to evaluate the certifiability of the applicant. The purpose of this process is to establish whether the applicant falls within the scope of Fairtrade (e.g. that the product is covered by Fairtrade Standards) and to provide all the necessary information regarding the certification process.
If you are a producer organisation or a trader and you want to apply for Fairtrade certification, please contact FLO-Cert at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. +27 (0)21 6710289
Once the application is approved, FLO-Cert will verify the compliance with Fairtrade Standards through a physical audit. Audits vary in length and complexity depending on the size of the organisation, the complexity of its structures and the number of products they want to certify. A full Fairtrade audit can last from a couple of days up to six or seven days for large co-operatives. The cost of certification is dependent on the number of working days required to inspect the producer group or trader.
Following the inspection, the auditor sends a report to FLO-Cert for evaluation. The decision to certify is taken by a specialised certifier, who is supervised by an independent certification committee. If non-conformities are found, FLO-Cert will revert to the applicant and decide on a timeframe within which the applicant must solve them. After this, a second audit occurs.
If the audit is successful, the company will receive its Fairtrade certificate. This allows the company to produce/trade products on Fairtrade terms. FLO-Cert will re-audit the certified company every year to ensure that Fairtrade Standards are always met.
WHAT COMPANIES ARE INVOLVED?
FLO-CERT is an independent certification body that inspects and certifies companies in more than 70 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. FLO-Cert auditors are specialised in Fairtrade certification but also offer a wide range of services to companies that wish to improve their sustainability status.
In order to guarantee the credibility of the Fairtrade Certification Mark, FLO-CERT operates according to ISO 65, the international quality norm for certification bodies. Concretely, ISO 65 guarantees that:
- A quality management system is in place;
- Transparency in all processes;
- Independence in the certification decision making.
FLO-Cert is checked by an independent third party to ensure compliance with ISO 65 rules.
PRODUCER SUPPORT: LIAISON OFFICERS (LOs)
Fairtrade offers free and direct support to producers through a network of Liaison Officers (LOs). These consultants are specialists in Fairtrade Standards, including certification processes and requirements. Any producer organisation that needs assistance in preparing for a Fairtrade audit or in maintaining its Fairtrade status can contact one of our local LOs. This service is provided by Fairtrade International and is free of charge.
FOR MORE INFORMATION...
> For more information about Fairtrade certification visit FLO-Cert's website.
> To browse the list of Fairtrade certified organisations worldwide click here.
> To download the Fairtrade Standards relevant for your organisation and product, visit the standard section on Fairtrade International's website.