On the producers’ side:
Standards are set by the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO):
FLO sets international Fair Trade rules and market prices, based upon location, cost of production and costs of living of the country of production. FLO also works to ensure producers receive a livable wage.
The certification itself is done by FLO cert, independent of FLO. Its role is to verify the standards set by FLO and ensure standards are upheld through an audit-based system. FLO cert certifies producer cooperatives and authorizes the use of the “Fair Trade” mark on approved products.
On the retail side:
Sister organizations of FLO and FLO cert operate independently, providing further transparency and oversight. They ensure standards are met on the retail end, and oversee those who hold licenses to use the Fair Trade mark, while monitoring to ensure that the standards are upheld throughout the entire supply chain.
In Canada, this sister organization is known as Fairtrade Canada. This same system exists throughout the world.
Other marks, logos and organizations:
- The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) acts as a trade association that evaluates each member based upon Fair Trade principles. Members of the FTF adhere to and promote Fair Trade standards and operate their business accordingly.
- The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) exists as a member-driven network whose members uphold and promote Fair Trade standards and ideals. Members ensure Fair Trade standards are met on both the producer and importer end.
- The Institute for Market ecology (IMO) has its roots in the Organic movement. Their “Fair for Life” program builds upon their organic standards to include social standards based around Fair Trade. IMO works with producers to set market prices, and with companies to ensure their operations are aligned with the ideals and standards outlined by IMO. A scoring system is used where minimum scores on both producer and importer ends must be met in order to obtain “certified” status.
NOTE: Always be critical when talking about « direct trade » or « fairly traded » products. As good as the intention and processes might be, there is no certification in place, so no control on whether or not the actual standards are met.