Our roots and role in Fairtrade
The Fairtrade system offers an alternative to conventional trade. By guaranteeing a minimum price and a premium payment, which producers invest into their businesses and communities, Fairtrade gives people in developing countries the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future.
FLOCERT’s role is to uphold this system’s credibility by independently ensuring that Fairtrade Standards are met and maintained.
FLOCERT & Fairtrade history: where we come from
Back in 1997, the various fair trade movements around Europe and North America came together to form one unifying umbrella organization, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, e.V. (Fairtrade International, formerly known as FLO). The new body set about harmonizing global standards and certification for fairly traded products.
After a few years a decision was made to separate the standard-setting side of the organization from the assessment and verification process – to ensure the independence, quality and credibility of the Fairtrade certification system.
And so in November 2003, FLOCERT (or FLO-CERT GmbH) was created as an independently governed subsidiary of Fairtrade International, who is its sole shareholder. Headed by Rüdiger Meyer, we began as a small team of innovators, developing a professional and reliable certification system for Fairtrade.
Initially we focused on our auditing and certification processes, building up a global network of auditors. Within four years FLOCERT had opened offices in Costa Rica, India and South Africa, and the number of employees grew to around 50.
In 2007, FLOCERT became the first social certification body in the world to obtain an ISO 65 accreditation for our Fairtrade certification services. In 2015, FLOCERT received accreditation against ISO 17065. While ISO 17065 keeps the proven parts of the ISO 65 norm, it puts special emphasis on the impartiality of processes. This covers our certification activities in all our regional offices.
We’d always regarded ourselves as a “social business” – not focussed on making profits, but aiming at covering our cost and providing the resources needed to continuously improve the services and systems for the benefit of our customers. Since 2015, our accreditation as “Social Enterprise” demonstrates this committment to social business values.
FLOCERT now has around 100 employees, more than 100 auditors, and over 3,800 customers across the world, ranging from small producers in developing nations to large global retailers. We’re currently operating in more than 120 countries.
FLOCERT is a global certification and verification body, with the main role of independently certifying Fairtrade products