Revamped Standards Support Producer Development

12 May 2011

Over 18 months ago, Fairtrade International embarked on a process to revisit the framework on which Fairtrade Standards are based. The goal was to make the Fairtrade Standards easier to understand and more adaptable to producers’ local situation, and give producers the freedom to determine their own path to development.

Today Fairtrade International proudly announces the introduction of the New Standards Framework (NSF), an important milestone in the implementation of Fairtrade’s global strategy to strengthen our system and broaden and deepen impact for producers.

“The New Standards Framework supports producers in working toward a socially and environmentally sustainable livelihood,” says Andreas Kratz, Director of Fairtrade International Standards Unit. “Now, more than ever, more sales under Fairtrade terms provide more opportunity for producers to achieve their own development goals.”

Here’s an overview of the key improvements to the Standards:

Producers determine their own development

Under the NSF, requirements are divided into “core” and “development”. Whereas all core requirements must be fulfilled, development requirements are scored on an average. Producers decide which areas they want to focus on when, and determine the best way for their organization to develop. Producers also write their own development plans, in which they monitor their development progress themselves, and report on their activities, such as Fairtrade Premium use and steps to protect the environment.

Clearer and simpler requirements

The Fairtrade Small Producer Organization and Contract Production Standards have been rewritten into simple, straightforward language and all requirements for producers are now included in just one document. This makes it easier for producers to see what is needed, and invest their money and time in the right way. The revised Standards also require less paperwork, meaning savings on administration costs.

Improved structure

The Standards have been reorganized into four chapters, including: General, Trade, Production, and Business and Development. The new structure will facilitate benchmarking and make it easier to collaborate with other sustainability systems. The Business and Development chapter highlights what makes Fairtrade unique, such as the Fairtrade Premium and the development plan.

Product Standards have also been re-grouped into more logical categories using an international product classification scheme, which will speed up the inclusion of future product standards.

Revised environmental requirements: Putting people first

The revised environmental requirements in the New Standards Framework keep people at the heart of the Fairtrade system. Strong core criteria protect producers’ health and safety, conserve nature and ban the use of GMOs and dangerous chemicals. Then, through the benefits received through Fairtrade, producers are encouraged to work on development priorities of their choice which lead to even greater sustainability.


The NSF will go into effect on 1 July 2011. Fairtrade International is now carrying out an intense training programme, including three regional workshops for Fairtrade staff and liaison officers to ensure a smooth transition for producers and traders.

For more information, read our Q and A.

To read and download the Standards, click here.

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