Certifying Fairtrade

FLO-CERT inspects producers and traders to ensure they comply with Fairtrade standards. FLO-CERT is a separate company owned by Fairtrade International.

Fairtrade certification

The Fairtrade labelling operates an independent, transparent and globally consistent certification system that follows the requirements of ISO 65*.

The Fairtrade certification system is run by a separate company called FLO-CERT. By checking compliance with Fairtrade Standards, FLO-CERT ensures that relevant social and environmental standards are met and that producers receive the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium.

FLO-CERT 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 the international FAIRTRADE Mark is only used on products that come from Fairtrade certified producers and that traders meet their obligations under the Fairtrade Standards.

Inspections and audits

No producer organization can become certified without an initial on-site inspection. Many Fairtrade producer organizations are large, including hundreds and sometimes thousands of farmers. This makes it impossible for the auditor to visit every single farm. Accordingly FLO-CERT operates a ‘group certification’ model. This includes the audit of the producer organization itself as well as random checks of a representative sample of individual farmers.

A full Fairtrade audit can last from four days for a small producer organization and up to six or seven weeks for the largest cooperatives. The time the auditor spends on the ground depends on the size of the producer organization, its complexity, and the number of certified products it is seeking to sell.

The cost of certification is dependent on the number of working days required to inspect the producer group. Following an audit, a report is sent to FLO-CERT for evaluation. The decision to certify is taken by a specialized certifier, who is supervised by an independent certification committee.

After they receive their initial Fairtrade certification, producers are inspected on-site on an annual basis. In some circumstances, where organizations have demonstrated excellent compliance over many years, they may qualify for a ‘desk-top’ review as part of a three year inspection cycle.

*ISO 65 Certification

FLO-CERT is ISO 65 certified. ISO 65 is the leading, internationally recognized quality norm for bodies operating a product certification system. FLO-CERT follows the ISO 65 norm in all its certification operations.

Concretely, ISO 65 certification 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.

Find out more

For more information about Fairtrade certification visit the website of FLO-CERT: www.flo-cert.net

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