There are five steps to becoming Fairtrade certified. The certification process (which follows ISO 17065 guidelines) is very thorough but relatively simple to complete.
Step 1: You apply…
Fill in your contact details here on the website and we’ll send you an application form – plus all the rules and requirements for Fairtrade certification.
Step 2: We audit…
Once you’ve completed and returned your application, we’ll let you know within 30 days if we can proceed to the next stage.
We’ll need to carry out audits to check whether or not your organization complies with the relevant Fairtrade Standards. With traders, it’s possible for us to issue a temporary ‘permission to trade’ before the first audit. Our ‘permission to trade’ (PTT) option was introduced to allow organizations to participate earlier in the Fairtrade system and benefit from it as quickly as possible.
For producers, a PTT is issued if no major issues are identified at the first audit, and is replaced by a certificate after successful conclusion of the audit follow-up.
The audits themselves vary in length and complexity, depending on the size and structure of your organization, and the number of products you want to certify. Our auditors are usually based in your own country or region and are familiar with local languages, cultures and legal systems.
Here’s how our audit process usually works:
- Our auditor will contact you in advance, provide you with an individualized checklist, specifying particular documents you’ll need to provide.
- Our auditor will arrange a series of site visits, face-to-face meetings and interviews with farmers, workers unions, managers and committees, as well as checking financial and other documents.
- At a final closing meeting, our auditor will share the findings of the audit with you – pointing out any areas where you’re not conforming to Fairtrade Standards, and giving an opportunity to discuss possible corrective measures.
Step 3: We analyze and evaluate…
After the audit, the auditor sends a report to one of our certification analysts to evaluate the results. If areas are identified where your operation is not conforming to Fairtrade Standards, you’ll be given a chance to correct these non-conformities at this stage.
Step 4: We certify - or ask for more changes…
Once the non-conformities have been corrected, we will either approve or reject your certification. FLOCERT only issues a certificate when all non-conformities have been resolved – but at this stage, if the non-conformities are not major, we may grant producers a ‘permission to trade’ until the changes are all made.
Step 5: We follow up…
After the initial certification there’s a three-year ‘certification cycle’, during which we carry out at least two more audits – one ‘surveillance audit’ and one ‘renewal audit’. If the first certification cycle is concluded successfully, we can issue a new certificate.
If we classify an organization as ‘high risk’ – perhaps because of the complexity of its trade chains or high volume of trade – more audits may be needed. We also widely carry out unannounced audits.