Fair Trade Certification for Farms, Fisheries, and Factories
Welcome to a more responsible, sustainable way of doing business. Learn how to become a fair trade partner.
How to begin working with Fair Trade USA®
Contact fair trade
Provide some basic information about your business via our online form. The right person from our team will contact you to discuss the certification process.
Review our standards
Carefully review the fair trade standards to understand our certification scope and compliance criteria.
Fill out an application
Complete and return an application to your contact at Fair Trade USA to begin the audit process.
The principles that guide our mission
Fair trade standards cover four main pillars of sustainable development.
Earnings should fulfill basic household needs, regardless of volatile market prices. Fair trade standards ensure producers, workers, farmers, and fishermen have the money needed to invest in their lives and their work.
Fair trade empowers people to make choices for the good of themselves and their community, regardless of gender, status, position in society, or position on the globe. Rigorous standards give farmers, workers, and fishermen a voice in the workplace and the community.
Individual and community well-being
When people have the capacity to invest in better futures, the result is a healthier workforce and ultimately higher quality goods. Our model is fueled by committees of farmers, workers, and fishermen who decide how to invest the Fair Trade Premium based on their community's greatest needs: often clean water, education, and healthcare.
Environmental practices have long-term impacts on the livelihoods of producers, communities, and the planet. Fair trade standards work to keep the planet healthy for generations to come by prohibiting the most harmful chemicals and taking measures to protect natural resources.
Frequently asked questions
If you don’t see your question answered here, contact us so someone from our team can help.
What are the standards I will be expected to meet?
We have specific standards for farms, fisheries, and apparel and home goods factories. Please see our list of producer standards for more information.
Who can earn fair trade certification?
Fair Trade USA certifies producers and groups of producers of all sizes, including farms, fisheries, and factories.
What Fair Trade Certified goods are traders looking to source from producers like me?
Apparel, body care, grains, herbs and spices, home goods, honey, cocoa, coconut, coffee, flowers, fresh produce, seafood, spirits, sugar, tea, wine, and more can be Fair Trade Certified.
What if my product does not fall into one of those categories?
Please contact us so we can explore if certification makes sense for your product.
What is minimum price setting? Does it apply to me?
Fluctuations in world market prices hit workers and farmers the hardest, so some Fair Trade Certified products have a set Fair Trade Minimum Price (see Prices and Premiums Information on our standards page). This serves as a safety net for producers in particularly volatile markets when prices dip too low and creates real opportunity for improved livelihoods.
What is the Fair Trade Premium? Does it apply to me?
For every Fair Trade Certified product sold, the producer earns a premium on top of the fair trade price. This additional money goes into a Community Development Fund managed by a Fair Trade Committee, which consists farmers, workers, and/or fishermen responsible for the product. The committee decides how to spend the funds to improve their lives and meet their unique individual and collective needs, as well as the needs of their communities and environments. To look up the premium amount for a particular product, see Prices and Premiums Information on our standards page.
What is a Fair Trade Committee?
A Fair Trade Committee consists of a group of producers, workers, farmers, and fishermen that foster communication and collaboration on important issues such as health and safety and community investments. Their main responsibility is to manage the use of the Fair Trade Community Development Fund.
Do you accept FLO-CERT certification?
Yes. Fair Trade USA understands that producers have worked hard to achieve these certificates, so we honor most FLO-CERT certifications. Fair Trade USA’s Procedure on Recognition of Equivalency (in English) further describes our approach to working with other standards and certification programs.
Do I have to meet all the requirements at once?
No. The process of getting certified is a journey of continuous improvement, but there are minimum requirements that must be met prior to certification.
How do I maintain certification?
Maintaining certification means complying with the standard minimum requirements and increasing compliance each year to ultimately meet full requirements. This will be verified by passing an audit each year. Audits are performed by one of these auditing firms: SCS Global Services, Peterson Control Union, Oregon Tilth, ARCHE Advisors, TAOS Network, or ELEVATE Limited