Safeguard credibility

Fair trade standards

A Fairtrade rice farmer from India

To safeguard the credibility of Fair Trade, relevant actors have put in place standards and developed mechanisms for monitoring compliance with those standards. Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), Fairtrade International for short, is the world's largest organisation for social standards certification. It ensures that products throughout the globe that bear the Fairtrade label fulfil uniform criteria.

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) – which brings together producers, importers and traders from about 70 countries – has developed a monitoring system for Fair Trade organisations.

In 2009, FLO and the WFTO agreed on a Charter for Fair Trade Principles. It sets out the fundamental principles and definitions of Fair Trade and describes the approaches used. In the Charter, Fair Trade is defined as a "social contract" between producers, and buyers and final consumers.

The Charter also lays down basic requirements that must be met in terms of social, economic and environmental development. These cover key criteria such as health and safety in the workplace, no discrimination and a ban on child and forced labour. To protect the environment, Fair Trade producers also undertake to use raw materials efficiently, improve waste management and to adopt environmentally sustainable production processes in agriculture where possible.

In addition to these international standards, the World Shops Convention plays an important role in this area, particularly in Germany. It lays down criteria for operating these specialist shops for fairly traded products.

For more details on the different standards that apply, please refer to the following sub-sections:

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