Fairtrade has added a new entry requirement for organisations growing or trading coffee or cocoa: As of 1 June, 2020, new Fairtrade applicants interested in cocoa or coffee certification will have to demonstrate that they have end buyer commitments for their crop.  With this move,  Fairtrade wants to strengthen coffee and cocoa farmers’ livelihoods and enable them to earn a living income.

As certification body for Fairtrade, FLOCERT is incorporating the new requirement into the Fairtrade application process.

Coffee producers face the challenge of historically low global coffee prices, which have averaged below US$1 per pound for more than a year. The prices are significantly below the cost of production for nearly all smallholder coffee farmers. The Fairtrade Minimum Price of US$1.40 per pound and the Fairtrade Premium on top serve as a safety net for Fairtrade coffee farmers during these lows, but the amount sold on Fairtrade terms depends on end buyer commitments.

Why this change?

A key factor in cocoa and coffee farmers being able to move towards earning a living income is that they can sell more of their crop on Fairtrade terms. Among other benefits, this includes receiving the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the mandatory Fairtrade Premium, an additional amount on top of the selling price that farmer cooperatives choose how to invest in their businesses and communities.

This new requirement is part of how Fairtrade is seeking to deepen benefits for farmers. Producer organisations that are currently Fairtrade certified can continue to benefit from existing or expanded sales, while newly certified organisations will have committed Fairtrade buyers lined up. Fairtrade Producer Networks will be able to provide a higher level of assistance to a more stable number of producer organisations. Traders that are part of Fairtrade supply chains can continue to develop trading relationships, with full commitment to Fairtrade principles.

How to meet this new certification requirement for cocoa and coffee 

If you are a producer organisation or a trader interested in applying for Fairtrade certification in coffee or cocoa, you should first contact your next buyers to be sure you know the end buyer and specific volumes being committed.

Your end buyer, whose products bear the FAIRTRADE Mark, will need to provide the buyers’ commitment assurance, with which the National Fairtrade Organisation (NFO) issues your recommendation letter. In a country without an NFO, Fairtrade International would provide this recommendation letter, if supplied with the buyers’ commitment assurance.

In the event that your certification application is related to a need to fulfill existing Fairtrade commitments that can't otherwise be met (for instance, meeting certain quality, quantity, or product specifications),  you are required  to submit a recommendation letter from your regional Fairtrade Producer Network (if you are based in producing regions), or from a NFO  (if you are not).

To find out which Fairtrade organisation to get in touch with to request a recommendation letter, contact

As the certification body for Fairtrade, FLOCERT will incorporate the new requirement into the application process for organisations that want to become certified as of 1 June, 2020. Applicants will be asked to submit their recommendation letter from a National Fairtrade Organisation (NFO),  a Fairtrade Producer Network (PN) or Fairtrade International prior to receiving an application package and proceed with their application. Applicants are requested NOT to pay the application fee until the recommendation letter has been granted.

You may also just use FLOCERT’s Get Started form to start your application process and will then be informed about the next steps by our applications teams.

The Bigger Picture

Fairtrade is also pursuing other measures to support farmer incomes, including focused producer support and marketing efforts to expand demand for Fairtrade coffee and cocoa, to accompany the new requirement.

This new requirement will be in effect for 14 months or until it is superseded by the publication of the revised Fairtrade Standards for coffee and cocoa, which are both currently undergoing full reviews.

Questions? For more detailed information on the new requirement please take a look at the FAQs.

Click here for FAQs