Fair Trade Standards

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

Our approach to certification enables many different producers of 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 per common practice has initiated a review of our agricultural standards. See the project plan for more details on this one to two year revision process as well as opportunities for involvement.

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

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Fair Trade Standards: Principles

Standards Development and Revision Policy

Standards Procedural Complaints Policy

Fair Trade Certification

We are partnering with SCS Global Services to conduct compliance assessments. For more information on how to become Fair Trade Certified by SCS please see our certification manual here in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

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Standards Noncompliance Feedback Form

Grievances and Allegations Policy

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  • Assessing our Impact
  • Price and Premium Requirements
  • Standard: Apparel and Home Goods
  • Standard: Capture Fisheries
  • Standard: Farm Workers
  • Standard: Independent Smallholders
  • Standard: Small Producer Organization
  • Standard: Trade

Assessing our Impact

Measuring Success in our Innovation work – Fair Trade USA pilots

Objective:

The objective or our Coffee Innovation Project is to create a Fair Trade system that brings significant benefits for farm workers and independent smallholders while continue growing the market for existing Fair Trade producers. 

How will we measure?

FT USA is working to develop our new certification and standards systems along best practice guidelines and related sustainability initiatives.   This includes integrating strong Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems into the design to maximize learning, improvement of the system, as well as understanding and improving impact on the ground.  The CIP serves as a pilot for developing and testing the new strategies, as well as developing and testing the M&E system.   

What will we measure?

FTUSA will measure the effectiveness of the activities and strategies in order to refine and improve them for more impact.  This includes metrics around the certification process itself, the standard (e.g. comprehensiveness, accessibility) and training.  We will be looking for answers to questions such as:

-          Are the principles of our standards – empowerment, social responsibility, economic development and environmental stewardship leading to the positive outcomes we expect?

-          Are small-scale producers and workers participating in Fair Trade USA better off because of Fair Trade? 

-          Is the market for sales from Small Producer Organizations negatively affected due to the entry of farms and groups of independent smallholders?

We are looking at including two levels of metrics to assess the impact brought to farm workers:  metrics captured during the application and certification process which will be captured across all farms, and deep dives into a small number of pilots where we get more farm level information primarily on income and empowerment, using both Labor Link mobile technology and traditional surveys. In addition to our M&E work, we are also seeking an impact assessment partner to help implement longitudinal studies on several CIP pilot farms in conjunction with several of our stakeholders.

Who will we measure?

We will be incorporating some output- based indicators into our certification process for all of our farms. Over time, this data can be used for wider applications and decision making. Additionally, we will be collecting comprehensive outcome-based baseline data (including data collection at the farmer or worker level) for approximately 5-10 of our pilots.

When will we measure?

We will be working with Sustainable Food Lab and key stakeholders and opinion leaders to finalize our impact assessment strategy through November 2012. We will then continue to work with Sustainable Food Lab and our stakeholders digging into the nuts and bolts of the correct indicators. With Sustainable Food Lab, we will share our final approach, based on implementation at several farms and stakeholder input, with those stakeholders that have participated in the process in early 2013 .  As part of the vetting process, we’re looking to identify an independent 3rd party who will be our partner in implementing our M&E work in the future.

Our impact indicators will be structured around our KEY PRINCIPLES. Click HERE to see examples of the types of questions that we will be looking for answers to.  

If you would like to contribute to developing our M&E process, or would like more information, we look forward to hearing from you. Please email us at standards@fairtradeusa.org.

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: Banana - January 2014

Pricing Announcement: Quinoa – September 2013

Pricing Announcement: Rooibos--December 2012

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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.

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

Download the Factory Standard for Apparel and Home Goods (English, Spanish or Hindi).

Download the Trade Standard for Apparel and Home Goods (English, Spanish or Hindi).

 

 

 

Standard: Capture Fisheries

The first comment period for the draft Fair Trade Capture Fisheries Standard closed on May 30, 2014. To learn more about the development of this standard, please visit http://fairtradeusa.org/products-partners/seafood

Standard: Farm Workers

Fair Trade USA developed the Farm Workers Standard (FWS) to serve farm workers that do not own land, but work on larger farms.  The objective of the standard is to increase empowerment, including leadership and organization of farm workers employed on the farm, economic development, and to ensure fair working conditions and environmentally responsible production methods.

The standard is based on the following principles:

  • Empowerment. Through the process of electing a Fair Trade Committee, developing a Fair Trade Plan and making choices on how to spend the Fair Trade Community Development Premium, this standard aims to enhance the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and transform them into desired actions and outcomes. Through these actions, our vision is that workers are able to build individual and collective assets and improve their effectiveness and participation on the farms for which they work. Specifically, workers are able to represent themselves effectively in their negotiations with management for improved working conditions, as well as partner with farm management to increase empowerment of all workers.
  • Economic Development: Our aim is to increase the income of workers by establishing wage requirements and premium funds, and guaranteeing that services such as housing, products sold at on-site stores, and health services are provided either free of charge or at reasonable prices.
  • Social Responsibility: Conditions of employment are in line with or exceeding sector regulations, the regional average, and official minimum wages. Health and safety measures are established in order to avoid work-related injuries.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Farms are responsible for caring for the earth by developing monitoring systems, limiting use of agrochemicals and fertilizers, implementing biological pest management techniques and waste management procedures, and protecting soil, water and biodiversity.

Standards Development and Stakeholder Review

Fair Trade USA sincerely thanks all of our colleagues and stakeholders for providing critical and insightful feedback. Without your commitment and diverse set of expertise, our Farm Workers 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 protection. The feedback we received was incredibly valuable, and is available here in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Through the support of our Board  members, technical advisor SCS, and external experts, we revised our standard and audit tools to be in accordance with approximately 65% of the recommendations received.

Please find our vision and objective here in EnglishSpanish, Portuguese and French.

Please find our Final Farm Workers Standard here in EnglishSpanishPortuguese and French.

Please find additional Guidelines for the Implementation and Interpretation of the Farm Workers Standard here in English and Spanish.

For definitions of the terminology used in the Final Farm Workers Standard, please refer to the Fair Trade USA Standards Glossary (also available in Spanish, Portuguese and French). For any questions about the standard, please reach out to standards@fairtradeusa.org.

Standard: Independent Smallholders

Fair Trade USA developed the Independent Smallholder (ISS) Standard to provide access to the benefits of Fair Trade for the many farmers that own small parcels of land but are not organized into cooperatives or associations. Fair Trade USA aims to bring our mission of empowerment, economic development, social responsibility and environmental stewardship to these “independent” small farmers, by helping them to partner with a Fair Trade Certified Market Access Partner to commercialize their products. The standard is based on the following principles:

  1. Empowerment: Through the process of electing a Fair Trade Committee, developing a Fair Trade Plan and making choices on how to spend the Fair Trade Premium, this standard aims to enhance the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and transform them into desired actions and outcomes. Through these actions, our vision is that smallholders are able to build individual and collective assets and effectively represent themselves in their negotiations with the Market Access Partner.
  2. Economic Development: The ISS aims to increase the income of smallholders by ensuring a transparent and stable trading relationship with the Market Access Partner and by requiring payment of Fair Trade Premium on every Fair Trade certified product sale. The standard establishes wage requirements for workers on the farms of participating smallholders and processing installations of the MAP, in order to increase their income.  
  3. Social Responsibility: The standard protects the rights of children and young persons to an education and a safe and age-appropriate work place.  Smallholders may choose to use Fair Trade Premiums to provide greater access to or improved quality of healthcare and education. For workers on the farms of smallholders or in processing installations of the MAP, health and safety measures are established in order to avoid work-related injuries.
  4. Environmental Stewardship: Independent smallholders are responsible for caring for the earth by limiting the use of agrochemicals and fertilizers, implementing biological pest management techniques and waste management procedures, and protecting soil, water and biodiversity. The Market Access Partner helps smallholders to increase their knowledge of environmentally sustainable production methods.

Please find more information about the ISS below:

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

Standards Development and Stakeholder Review

Fair Trade USA sincerely thanks all of our colleagues and stakeholders for providing critical and insightful feedback. Without your commitment and diverse set of expertise, our Independent Smallholders 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 protection. The feedback we received was incredibly valuable, and is available here. Through the support of our Board members, technical advisor SCS Global Services, and external experts, we revised our standard and audit tools to be in accordance with approximately 75% of the recommendations received.

Pilot: Worker Inclusion – Supplement to the Independent Smallholders Standard

In line with Fair Trade USA’s Fair Trade for All vision, the primary objective of the Worker Inclusion pilot program is to bring the premium benefits of Fair Trade to workers employed by registered smallholders. The ISS already has very stringent requirements to protect workers in areas such as labor rights and worker health and safety. In the traditional ISS, however, workers do not receive the benefit of the Community Development Premium. With this pilot, Fair Trade USA is testing a modified set of compliance criteria to determine the feasibility of expanding the Premium benefits of Fair Trade to workers, both on farms and in processing or packing facilities, in the ISS. One of the main goals of this pilot program is to understand the level of impact generated for different beneficiaries in both the traditional ISS and the ISS Worker Inclusion pilot. The pilot period is set for two years (2013-2014) and is open to all products with the exception of coffee.

Standard: Small Producer Organization

For now, Fair Trade USA is adopting FLO’s SPO standard as is. We are comfortable with this approach because over the past decade we have invested millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in co-creating the approaches used by FLO, including standards and compliance criteria. We will continue honoring FLO-CERT certifications while simultaneously making SCS available as a certifier later this year. 

We will begin consulting with producers on our Smallholder Organization standard later this year.

If you are interested in certification with SCS, please contact Fair Trade USA at producercertification@fairtradeusa.org

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 honoured.
    • 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.

Please find our vision and objective here in EnglishSpanishPortuguese and French.

Please find our Final Trade Standard here in EnglishSpanishPortuguese and French.

For definitions of the terminology used in the Final Trade Standard, please refer to the Fair Trade USA Standards Glossary (also available in SpanishPortuguese and French). 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).