How it works

The Fairtrade certification process is thorough and we’re proud to be able to guide and support our customers through it. Take a look at our five steps below to find out exactly what it’ll take to become a Fairtrade certified organisation.

Step 1: Sign up

Fill in our simple form to get started. Once we have your details, we'll send you an application package and let you know what you'll need to demonstrate to become Fairtrade certified.

We'll let you know if we're able to certify your business after we have received your completed application package. Please note: FLOCERT only schedules your initial audit once we have received your application fee.

If you're a trader and you'd like to become part of the Fairtrade system, we can give you a temporary ‘Permission to Trade' before your initial audit so that you may sell under Fairtrade-terms as quickly as possible. We will carry out an assessment of your compliance during your initial audit.

Step 2: The audit

Our first audit will check whether your organisation complies with the Fairtrade Standards.

Your auditor will usually be based in your own country or region. They'll usually speak your local language and be familiar with your culture and legal context. The length and complexity of the audit will depend on the size and organisational set-up of your business, and the number of products you want certified.

Our audit process usually works like this:

  • Your auditor will be in touch to introduce him or herself, send you your business-specific checklist for the audit, and let you know whether you'll need to provide any particular documents.
  • Your auditor will visit you on site and conduct face-to-face meetings and interviews with farmers, workers, union members, managers and committees; and check financial and other documents.
  • At a final meeting your auditor will share their findings with you. If you're not yet conforming to Fairtrade Standards, the auditor helps you to understand why, and together, you will explore opportunities to develop your practices so that you meet the criteria for certification.
Step 3: Evaluation

After the audit, your auditor will send a report to one of our certification analysts to evaluate the results. You'll be given a chance to correct any areas of your business that aren't yet conforming to Fairtrade Standards at this stage.

 

Step 4: The decision

Once you're satisfied that you've implemented any changes necessary, we'll make a decision on whether you're ready to become a Fairtrade certified organisation. We'll only issue your certificate when all non-conformities have been resolved – but at this stage, if you're a producer and we found no major problems, we may be able to grant you a temporary ‘Permission to Trade'.

 

Step 5: Following up

Once you've received your initial certification, you've entered our three-year ‘certification cycle'. During this time, we might carry out further audits, depending on the scale and complexity of your company and certification setup. We'll issue your organisation a new certificate at the end of the first certification cycle, if you come through your renewal audit successfully. We might also carry out unannounced audits.

Find out more

If you'd like to learn more about how the certification process works, please see our Standard Operating Procedures on Certification.