Certifying Fairtrade

The Fairtrade certification system is rigorous, independent, and in-line with best-in-class certification practice.

Our certifiers audit producers, traders and companies to ensure compliance with the internationally-agreed Fairtrade Standards.  In doing so they comply with Fairtrade International’s Requirements for Assurance Providers (RAPs) and are monitored by the Oversight Committee, which reports to Fairtrade International’s Board.

The main certifier in Canada is Fairtrade Canada, certifying all the licensees and many of the traders located in Canada.  FLOCERT , located in Bonn Germany, is the largest certifier for Fairtrade, responsible for the certification of all producers and most traders and licensees in other countries. FLOCERT operates a transparent, independent and globally consistent certification system following the requirements of ISO 17065.  Fairtrade Canada is in the process to receive formal recognition by Fairtrade International under the Requirements for Assurance Providers (RAP) as a Fairtrade certifier.

By checking compliance with Fairtrade Standards, the certification bodies provide an assurance that the relevant economic, social, and environmental standards are met and that producers receive the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium.

The auditors are highly qualified, usually based in the countries and regions where they work, and familiar with local cultures, languages, and legal systems. All auditors are examined on their skills and receive annual training.

Consumers can be confident that Fairtrade International provides high quality assurance that products with the international FAIRTRADE Marks conform with Fairtrade Standards and benefit Fairtrade certified farmers and workers.

Producer Audits

All producer organizations – whether small producer group, plantation or contract production setup – must go through an initial on-site audit before they can sell Fairtrade certified products.

The size of Fairtrade producer organizations varies greatly from small cooperatives with a few farmer members to large plantations with hundreds of workers, on up to large second-grade cooperatives with thousands of farmer members. As a result of this, FLOCERT randomly selects a pre-defined minimum number of farms to be physically visited and workers to be interviewed. The annual cost of certification depends on the total number of farmers or workers.

A full Fairtrade producer audit will last several days. The time the auditor spends in the field depends on the size of the producer organization (number of farmer members or workers), its complexity, and the number of certified products it wants to sell as Fairtrade.

Following the physical audit, an audit report is sent to FLOCERT for evaluation and approval or to follow-up on any non-conformities identified during the audit. The decision to certify is taken by FLOCERT, and only after all non-conformities have been corrected.

After receiving the initial Fairtrade certification, producer organizations are physically audited at least twice in a three-year certification cycle. In addition to the regular audits, FLOCERT conducts regular unannounced audits.

Trader Audits

FLOCERT and some national Fairtrade organizations, such as Fairtrade Canada also certify traders and companies against the Fairtrade Trade Standard. Traders and companies wishing to sell Fairtrade products often first receive a temporary ‘permission to trade’ after a desk-top assessment and prior to their first audit. This enables traders to build up a history in the Fairtrade system that can be audited and enables producers to benefit from new buyers coming on board.

A complete audit is then conducted within six months after receiving the permission to trade. At the audit itself the auditor checks on-site if all Fairtrade transactions were conducted in line with the corresponding Fairtrade Standards. Traders involved in Fairtrade Premium and Minimum Price payments are audited at least twice in a three-year certification cycle and our certifiers also conducts unannounced audits.

*ISO 17065 Certification

FLOCERT is ISO 17065 certified. ISO 17065 is the leading, internationally recognized quality norm for bodies operating a product certification system. FLOCERT follows the ISO 17065 norm in all its certification operations.

Concretely, ISO 17065 certification provides an additional assessment that:

  • A quality management system
  • Transparency in all processes
  • Independence in the certification decision making

FLOCERT is checked by an independent third party to ensure compliance with ISO 17065 rules.

Find out more

For more information about Fairtrade certification visit the website of FLOCERT: www.flocert.net