Becoming a Fairtrade producer

This is the sort of process you might go through if you are considering whether to become Fairtrade certified. Also see FLOCERT's website to learn more about the process

Fairtrade for Beginners - English from Fairtrade International on Vimeo.

Becoming a Fairtrade producer: step by step

You consider getting Fairtrade certified

  • Look at pages on this site and get copies of the Standards, guidelines and explanatory documents to find out what Fairtrade is all about.
  • Decide which of the Standards you would qualify for, the Standards for small producer organizations or those for hired labour situations. Within each category, also look at the product specific standard as well as the respective Fairtrade Minimum Price if there is one for your product and origin. Each standard states in it who would qualify.
  • Decide if you think you still want to get certified. As part of this decision, you should find out if there are any buyers who want to buy your products under Fairtrade terms in the countries you want to sell to. Being certified does not guarantee that you will sell your product to the Fairtrade market on Fairtrade terms.
  • Deciding whether to get certified is an important business decision. Your organization will have to pay for the annual audits at the actual costs. Once certified, you’ll need to invest in improvements each year and in accessing Fairtrade markets. An overview of the certification costs is given on the FLOCERT website. You should decide whether you think the costs are going to be worth the expected benefits.

You apply for Fairtrade certification

  • If you think the investment will be worth it, then apply online to the certifying company FLOCERT.
  • If you qualify FLOCERT will send you an application pack with more information on the application fee and how to continue with your application.
  • Meanwhile, you should be planning any work you need to do to make sure you will pass certification. To do this, look at what is required under the respective compliance criteria – this is available on FLOCERT's website.

You are audited for Fairtrade compliance

  • Once all necessary documentation has been received and approved a FLOCERT certification manager will get in touch with you to plan an on-site audit. You will be invoiced for the audit based on the numbers of days required for the visit. On receipt of payment the audit will be confirmed and an auditor will visit your site and check against the required compliance criteria.
  • Thereafter there is a process the certifier may highlight some issues that need to be addressed in order that you can comply with Fairtrade standards.  Once compliancy is determined a certificate will be issued and you will be eligible to trade under Fairtrade terms.
  • Throughout the application and certification process you have the option of getting support through the Producer Services and Relations Unit (information provided in the application pack)

You begin to supply Fairtrade products

  • The buyer of the product you have a Fairtrade certificate for, has to be licensed to sell produce with the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark. Or they can apply through the national Fairtrade labelling initiative in the country in which they wish to sell your products to an end consumer.
  • The whole supply chain from producer to consumer that your product passes through will be audited by FLOCERT (or the Fairtrade labelling initiative) to ensure the whole chain is compliant with Fairtrade Standards.
  • You should receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for your product (where applicable) and the Fairtrade Premium. You can negotiate with the buyer for a price higher than the set Minimum Price. The Fairtrade Premium is an additional sum of money that is used by producers to improve conditions. Fairtrade Standards define how decisions on the use of the Premium are made and what the Premium can be used for.
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