Revised Agricultural Production Standard

Effective March 1, 2017, Fair Trade USA® updated standards that apply to agricultural production. Existing Certificate Holders worked hard to comply with our previous agricultural standards and earn their fair trade certificates, so we allow a one-year transition period for anyone to whom that applies.

Public announcement of approval of the APS

Download as a pdf (in English)


For three years the Fair Trade USA team worked diligently, in step with a diverse range of stakeholders, to develop our standards for agricultural production: the Agricultural Production Standard (APS). The Standard is clear, impact-oriented, and meets the ever-evolving needs and expectations of the producers, companies, NGOs and consumers we serve.


Fair Trade USA would like to thank all of those who provided feedback and guidance throughout the review and revision process, including more than 100 companies and organizations with a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise. The final Standard reflects the voices of producer groups representing both smallholders and large growers, farmworkers, labor experts and trade unions, NGOs, Fair Trade movement organizations, buyers and brands.


We would also like to extend our gratitude to the experts and advisors who provided guidance and support throughout the creation and revision of the APS. We especially thank the Board Task Force, a representative group comprised of experts in labor, smallholder production, and certification from Fair Trade USA's Board and Advisory Council, for their support, which resulted in unanimous approval of the APS by the Board.


“Fair Trade USA rigorously revised this Standard in line with industry best practice, and increased the organization’s commitment to stakeholder engagement. The result of this work is a strong final Standard that raises the bar on certification and meets the mounting needs of farmers and workers,” said Chris Himes, Fair Trade USA Board member.


To download the APS, other associated policies, and guidance documents, please visit our standards page. Background documents, including the Transition Policy, Frequently Asked Questions about the APS, and summaries of feedback received and Fair Trade USA's responses, are available below.

Background information

The APS was developed through a rigorous and transparent review and revision process. In 2014, Fair Trade USA began the multi-phased review process to update our standards that apply to agricultural production, in order to ensure that the standards continue to be relevant and impactful in today’s agricultural landscape. The APS  incorporates and replaces Fair Trade USA's former agricultural standards used prior to March 1, 2017.


A first draft of the APS (APS 0.1) was developed from Fair Trade USA's learnings from the field, studies on the impact of Fair Trade, and feedback that Fair Trade USA had been gradually collecting since 2011. This first draft was then revised based on consultation with a subset of diverse stakeholders and experts, collected through a two-day, multi-stakeholder APS Summit, as well as regional workshops and field tests conducted with diverse producer groups to collect direct input from farmers and workers. The second draft of the APS (APS 0.2) was released for public consultation through July and August, 2016. These consultations are part of Fair Trade USA's commitment to integrate stakeholder input and to follow the consultation processes laid out in the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Environmental and Social Standards. Summaries of feedback received on Drafts 0.1 and 0.2, as well as Fair Trade USA's responses, are available below.


The APS was finalized and published on March 1, 2017, with the approval of Fair Trade USA's Board. The final version takes into account the learnings and diverse feedback received throughout the consultation and review process. The APS went into effect on May 1, 2017. At this time all audits were conducted against the updated requirements. All producers certified under Fair Trade USA's current standards have one year from publication to comply with any requirements that are new. Fair Trade USA will continue to recognize and support producers who are certified by FLO-Cert against the Fairtrade International Standards, and these groups are not required to transition to the APS. In accordance with ISEAL, the APS will be reviewed at least every five years. The next revision is planned for 2022-2023.

Transition resources

Transition Policy

Summary of APS Themes and Comparison with Prior Standards

Guidance on the APS Transition and CAP Extension Process

Background resources


Summary and Response to Feedback Draft APS 0.1

Summary and Response to Feedback Draft APS 0.2

APS Project Plan

Draft Agricultural Production Standard