Fair Trade USA’s Ingredients Policy seeks to provide Fair Trade benefits to more farmers by enabling more companies to use Fair Trade Certified™ ingredients, and to increase transparency through a policy with clear requirements and differentiated product labeling.
Our objective is to expand the market for Fair Trade farmers and farm workers—impacting the long-term stability of their communities and the quality of their lives for generations to come.
Whether an ingredient is commercially available is determined through the following steps:
- A licensed partner will search the Fair Trade USA online ingredients database  in order to find available Fair Trade certified ingredients. (Note: This is a work in progress and not a complete list of presently available ingredients. The list will become more complete over time.)
- Where the search is not successful, Fair Trade USA will work with licensed partners to exhaust all possible vendors to find the ingredients needed.
- Licensed partners sample the available ingredients and test for quality and functionality.
- If the ingredient still cannot be found (availability), or does not match the product quality specifications (quality, functionality), exemptions are logged per product. This information is shared with registered ingredient partners to demonstrate unmet need. This process helps speed up the availability of new ingredients, formulations, options and brings more benefit to farmers, faster.
- Fair Trade USA’s Multiple Ingredients Product Policy seeks to:
- Provide Fair Trade benefits to more farmers by enabling more companies to use Fair Trade Certified™ ingredients
- Increase transparency through a policy with clear requirements and differentiated product labeling
- Multiple ingredient products use many ingredients for which today there are neither rigorous standards nor certification processes (wheat, dairy, eggs, etc).
- Farmers selling crops that could be certified – like vanilla, cocoa, sugar and spices – want to be part of Fair Trade, but these ingredients are typically used in multiple ingredient products at lower percentages.
- For example, ice cream that contains both cocoa and sugar may have only 20% Fair Trade ingredients; cookies containing sugar, chocolate chips and vanilla might have only 30% Fair Trade ingredients.
- Our policy will allow farmers to sell as much of their crops as possible as Fair Trade while balancing a consumer’s right to know what is in a Fair Trade certified product.
Companies that start to source new Fair Trade Certified ingredients and want to start using the ingredient label on new products have a two year window to complete the transition to fulfilling the above requirements.
Existing Fair Trade Certified Multiple-Ingredient Products
Products that are already available will have a two year transition period to comply with this new policy.