Assuring integrity in checking compliance

Consumers have high confidence in Fairtrade and the integrity of our system. In addition to maintaining the Fairtrade Standards for producers and traders, we have a rigorous system for checking that our certifiers and licensing bodies meet certain criteria.

27149 Four Women Farmers Walking 870
A group of farmers at the Bio Farmer Agricultural Commodity and Service Cooperative, Kyrgyzstan.
Image © Didier Gentilhomme

If the Fairtrade Standards are what organizations and companies are checked for, the Fairtrade assurance system defines how these entities are checked. You can read more about our certification processes here.

Maintaining the independence, consistency and impartiality of the certification and licensing processes on a global scale is part of our commitment to transparency and the integrity of Fairtrade.

Our assurance system includes a set of rules for how certification and licensing must be done, a way to check compliance with the rules, and a committee with representation of all our stakeholders that decides if the certifiers and licensing bodies continue to meet Fairtrade’s expectations.

Our assurance system was designed following the requirements of ISEAL’s Assurance Code and builds on the requirements of ISO17065. Additionally FLOCERT, the main independent certifier for Fairtrade, is accredited against ISO17065 by the German national Accreditation Body DAkkS.

If you have a complaint or comment to submit to our assurance system please contact us by sending an email to assurance@fairtrade.net.

Key documents

The following documents outline the process and protocol of our assurance system.

Oversight committee

The Oversight Committee is a multi-stakeholder group that meets regularly to define the assurance system and oversee the performance of certifiers and licensing bodies. Members of the Oversight Committee are appointed by the Standards Committee at Fairtrade International.

Terms of Reference for Fairtrade International Oversight Committee: This document defines the responsibilities and regulates the composition and the work of the multi-stakeholder body.

The Oversight Committee meetings in 2020 will take place on

  • March 23 - 24
  • July 6 - 7
  • September 21 - 22
  • November 23 - 24

Oversight committee minutes

For the minutes of the latest Oversight Committee meetings, please see below:

Public report on Exceptions

In the interest of transparency about how the Fairtrade Standards are implemented, and in accordance with our Exceptions Policy, which is part of our compliance with ISEAL’s Assurance Code, Fairtrade provides an annual summary of the exceptions to our Standards granted by our certifiers (also known as assurance providers) and licensing bodies.

The exceptions are listed according to the requirement in the Fairtrade Standards for which an exception was granted. These requirements cover processes from agricultural production by smallholder farmers and workers, up until Fairtrade commodities are packaged as finished products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark. The exceptions granted for ingredients in finished products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark are listed separately for each finished product with one (or more) exceptions. In the case of exceptions for more than one ingredient in a finished product, the exception for the most significant non-Fairtrade ingredient is listed.

Disclaimer

Please note: This aggregated summary of Fairtrade standards exceptions granted is compiled from multiple internal data sources. Due to the challenges of compiling data from different sources and in different formats, it may contain a limited number of duplications, omissions and minor errors. The summary does not include exception requests which were denied.

If you have queries about this database please contact us at assurance@fairtrade.net.