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Fair Trade Standards

Fair Trade USA’s standards aim to bring our mission of empowerment, economic development, social development and environmental stewardship to farmers, fishers and workers around the world.

Our approach to certification enables diverse producers across a range of commodities to participate and compete in international markets in ways that are fair and equitable today and help them to progress and acquire greater business capacity over time. We also continue to recognize FLO-CERT certification.

Fair Trade USA continuously works to improve our standards and has recently completed a review of our agricultural standards. More information on the revision process for the Agricultural Production Standard (APS) can be found on our Standard Revision page.  For an overview of current and ongoing standard revisions and standards revisions that were adopted in the previous year, please see this work program.

All of our Standards and related documents can be found at our Standards Download Center

If you would like to contact the FTUSA Standards Team for more information on the standards, propose revisions or clarifications to the standards, and/or request a hard copy of any standards related documents, please email us at standards@fairtradeusa.org

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Fair Trade Certification

FTUSA conducts oversight of all our assurance providers. The Certification and Assurance Bodies that Fair Trade USA works with are as follows: SCS, Control UnionOregon Tilth, Elevate, and Arche Advisors.  Please see the Fair Trade Quality Manual in English.  This document will soon be available in more languages.

If stakeholders would like to request further information regarding the FTUSA certification system or more information on our oversight mechanism, please email the Certification Team at certification@fairtradeusa.org.

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  • Assessing our Impact
  • Price and Premium Requirements
  • Standard: Agricultural Production
  • Standard: Apparel and Home Goods
  • Standard: Capture Fisheries
  • Standard: Trade

Assessing our Impact

 

The Impact Management System (IMS) is Fair Trade USA’s approach to defining, measuring and communicating the impact of our model. It includes the organization’s Theory of Change and the indicators, processes, and technologies used to monitor and report on progress over time.

The objectives of the IMS are:

  • Define the impact that Fair Trade USA aims to achieve and the methodology of measuring it 
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of program activities (e.g. standards, market support, consumer activation programs) in realizing goals and desired outcomes 
  • Use our evaluation to refine our program to improve results 
  • Communicate the change Fair Trade is enabling for producers, businesses and consumers 

Click here to download a document that provides a high-level overview of the whole IMS system, and goes deeper on the impact for producers. Future iterations will include more information on our approach to defining and measuring the impact of fair trade for businesses and consumers.

Price and Premium Requirements

Fair Trade Price and Premiums

Fair Trade Prices and Premiums are set by Fair Trade USA and published in the Price and Premium database below. To find pricing or premium information, please enter the product  you are interested in, and click on "search."

Special Price and Premium Terms

Occasionally, there are additional price or premium requirements. These are identified by an asterisk (*) in the “Special Price Terms” column of the Price and Premium database. Please refer to our Special Price and Premium Terms for further explanation of these specific requirements.

Additionally, detailed definitions of product categories and other price-related terminology are available in the Fair Trade USA Glossary.  If you do not see Fair Trade Premium information for a product category that you are interested in certifying, please contact Fair Trade USA at standards@fairtradeusa.org. Fair Trade USA develops new Fair Trade pricing for new categories based on producer and market demand.

Price and Premium Review Process

Fair Trade USA regularly reviews Prices and Premiums as part of our standard-setting procedure. Fair Trade USA also reviews Prices or Premiums when there are significant shifts in the market, or when we identify externalities that we believe will affect our producer and industry partners.

Recent Price or Premium Consultations

Pricing Announcement: Strawberries – January 2017

Pricing Announcement: Yellowfin Tuna - August 2016

Pricing Announcement: Coconut - June 2015

Pricing Announcement: Apparel and Home Goods - January 2015

Pricing Announcement: Banana - January 2014

Pricing Announcement: Quinoa – September 2013

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Standard: Agricultural Production

Fair Trade USA’s Agricultural Production Standard (APS) covers agricultural producers or groups of producers, and supports sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers by supporting lasting, positive change in four focal impact areas:

  • Income Sustainability
  • Community and Individual Well-Being
  • Empowerment
  • Environmental Stewardship

The APS includes requirements related to the themes of empowerment, fundamental rights at work, wages and working conditions, biodiversity and sustainable production, traceability and transparency, and internal management systems.

Development & Consultation

Fair Trade USA began the comprehensive review and revision of our agricultural standards in 2014. This multi-phased process included extensive consultation, with feedback received from more than 100 companies and organizations, including producer groups representing both smallholders and large growers, labor experts, NGOs and fair trade movement organizations, buyers and brands. Direct input from farm workers and smallholders was collected through 10 regional workshops, and implementation of the draft standard assessed through 13 field tests with diverse producer groups.

This extensive participatory process has been key to building a strong final APS that improves and builds upon Fair Trade USA’s existing standards, and consolidates them into one globally applicable certification model that is not only clearer for producers, but will drive greater impact to everyone in the supply chain. More information on the revision, including frequently asked questions and summaries of feedback received and Fair Trade USA’s response can be found on our Standards Revision page.

In accordance with ISEAL, the APS will be reviewed at least every five years. The next revision is planned for 2022-2023.

Download the Fair Trade USA Agricultural Production Standard, as well as relevant policies and guidance documents on the Standards Download Center. Our previous standards on agricultural production, including the Farm Worker Standard (FWS) and the Independent Smallholder Standard (ISS) can also be found there.

For any questions about the Standard, please reach out to standards@fairtradeusa.org.

Standard: Apparel and Home Goods

Standard: Apparel and Home Goods

Goal and Objective

The Fair Trade USA Apparel and Home Goods Standards serve workers in production facilities. The objective of the standard is to bring more income and empowerment to workers in facilities that produce Fair Trade Certified products, and to ensure fair working conditions and environmentally responsible production at these sites.

The Apparel and Home Goods Standards are divided into two parts, a Factory Standard and a Trade Standard.

The Fair Trade Apparel and Home Goods Factory Standard raises the bar and goes beyond codes of conduct. In addition to internationally recognized labor standards, the Factory Standard requires:

  • Fair Trade Premiums. Workers decide democratically how to allocate additional funds, whether to distribute a cash bonus or invest in a community need.
  • Worker Voice. Workers receive training on their rights and have confidential channels to report grievances or complaints, both within and outside the facility.
  • Women’s Rights. Standard has specific provisions to protect women’s rights, prevent sexual harassment, and promote equal pay.

The Apparel and Home Goods Trade Standard regulates trade conditions between factories and buyers, incentivizing long-term relationships and higher wages, in addition to requiring payment of the Fair Trade Premium.

Development & Consultation

The Fair Trade USA Standards for Fair Trade Certified Apparel and Home Goods were developed from core conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), plus the highest standards from global, multi-stakeholder initiatives such as Social Accountability International (SAI), Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF).

The purpose of the standards is to promote economic empowerment for workers, in addition to ensuring high social and environmental performance in the workplace.

The draft standards were put out for consultation during a 45-day public comment period in November 2009, and revised based on input received from 55 organizations in 15 countries.

In January 2013, a Multi-Stakeholder Group for Apparel (MSG) completed an evaluation of the two-year Apparel Pilot and issued written recommendations. Fair Trade USA has incorporated those recommendations including proposed revisions to the standards. The full MSG report is available here.

In accordance with ISEAL, the Factory Standard will be reviewed at least every five years. The next revision is planned for 2017-2018.

The Apparel and Home Goods Standards are divided into two parts, a Factory Standard and a Trade Standard. Download both on the Standard Download Center.

For any questions about the Standard, please reach out to standards@fairtradeusa.org.

Standard: Capture Fisheries

In 2014, Fair Trade USA launched its Capture Fisheries Program in an effort to bring the benefits of Fair Trade to small-scale fishermen. To learn more about the program, please visit http://fairtradeusa.org/products-partners/seafood

In accordance with ISEAL, the Capture Fisheries Standard will be reviewed at least every five years. The next major revision is planned for 2018-2019.

Standard: Trade

Fair Trade USA’s Trade Standard covers the supply chain partners that buy and sell Fair Trade Certified products sourced from producers certified by Fair Trade USA-approved certifiers (currently SCS and FLO CERT).

The objective of the Trade Standard is to enable the economic development of Fair Trade producers through their trading partners, and to ensure consumers that the Fair Trade Certified products they buy were grown, harvested and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment.

The Standard is structured around the following objectives:  

  1. Economic Development: Stable business relationships and pre-determined Premiums
    • Fair Trade buyers are reliable business partners for Fair Trade producers and Fair Trade contracts are honored.
    • Fair Trade USA standards require pre-determined Premiums on every sale.
  2. Trade: Transparency and Benefit Traceability
    • Fair Trade buyers report their Fair Trade transactions to Fair Trade USA and engage with Fair Trade USA in the auditing and supply chain verification processes.
    • Documentation of Fair Trade transactions allow a sale to be traced back to a purchase – ensuring that only the amount of product that was purchased as Fair Trade certified is sold as Fair Trade Certified.

Standards Development and Stakeholder Review

Fair Trade USA sincerely thanks all of our colleagues and stakeholders for providing critical and insightful feedback on the Draft Standard over the past year. Without your commitment and diverse set of expertise, our Final Trade Standard would not be as strong as it is today. We will continue to monitor its implementation and seek ways to improve our standards in order to deliver more impact for more people. We are deeply committed to delivering on our promise of empowerment, economic development, social responsibility and environmental stewardship. The feedback we received was incredibly valuable, and is available here in EnglishSpanish, French and Portuguese. With the support of our technical advisor SCS and external experts, we revised over twenty elements in the Standard and Compliance Criteria to incorporate stakeholder recommendations.

In accordance with ISEAL, the Trade Standard will be reviewed at least every five years.  The next revision is planned for 2017-2018.

Download the Final Trade Vision and Objectives, Standard, and Compliance Criteria on the Standard Download Center.

For definitions of the terminology used in the Final Trade Standard, please refer to the Fair Trade USA Standards Glossary, also available on the Download Center. For any questions about the Standard, please reach out to standards@fairtradeusa.org. 

Fair Trade USA Multiple Ingredient Product Policy and Label Use Guidelines

Fair Trade Standards also refer to the Ingredients Policy, and Label Use Guidelines (LUG).