Setting the standards


Fairtrade standards are set in accordance with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice on Standard Setting. This process involves wide consultation with stakeholders.

Decisions about Fairtrade standards are made by the Fairtrade International Standards Committee.

Below you can find out about:

Standards & Pricing Unit work plan

The standard setting process is managed by Fairtrade International’s Standards unit, which publishes its annual workplan as part of good practices in standards setting.

Download the Standards & Pricing Unit Workplan for 2015

Procedures for setting Fairtrade standards

The procedures below describe the process followed by Fairtrade International’s Standards & Pricing Unit when creating new standards and revising existing standards:

Forms to participate in the standards setting process

The documents below have been developed to help you contribute to the standard setting process, in accordance to the ISEAL requirements.

Code of good practice for setting Standards

Fairtrade Standards are set in accordance with the requirements of the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards.

This means that the Standards are set on the basis of consultations with the major stakeholders in the Fairtrade system. While Fairtrade International sets the Standards and supports producers to meet them, a separate certification company, FLOCERT, regularly inspects and certifies producers and traders against the Standards.

ISEAL Code of Good Practice

These procedures are compliant with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice on Standard Setting.

The ISEAL code brings a high degree of credibility to the standard setting of organizations such as Fairtrade International. The areas and levels of responsibility are further explained on the ISEAL website.  

Fairtrade International has produced an  explanatory note about the ISEAL Code.  This note also explains the work undertaken by Fairtrade International to be compliant with the ISEAL code.

Consultation process

When new Fairtrade standards are proposed or existing Fairtrade standards are reviewed, the procedures require that relevant stakeholders are consulted.  Stakeholders can comment at each stage of the process: 

1. Project description: sometimes a project description is included to provide background that mainly relates to the scope and objectives of the new or revised standard.

2. Standard drafts: comments mainly relate to specific questions and proposed content.

3. Comment period: after publication of a standard, stakeholders may formally comment within a given time frame. Comments are considered for scheduling the review of the applicable standard. At the end of the timeframe for formal feedback, stakeholders may still submit their comments at any time to the Standards & Pricing Unit.

Fairtrade International Standards Committee

Decisions about Fairtrade Standards are taken by the Fairtrade International Standards Committee. Members are appointed and its Terms of References are approved by the Fairtrade International Board.

Download the list of Standards Committee members

The Standards Committee ensures that decisions taken on standards take into account the views of all the relevant stakeholders and are in line with Fairtrade International's mission and policy statements.

The Standards Committee meetings in 2015 will be on

  • March 18 - 19
  • June 23 - 24
  • September 29 -30
  • November 25 - 26

Minutes of the Standards Committee

In its meetings, the Standards Committee not only decides on the revision of the standards, but also on the planning of other works and policies related to standards.

For the Minutes of the latest Standards Committee meetings, please see below:

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